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INDEX 287 







VALLEYS ...... 







NORTH-EAST ...... 









Facing page 






AND 1903 



When in 1892, on a journey into Central Asia, 
I first made acquaintance with a small portion 
of the Central Tian-Shan, I received, even by 
a mere flying visit, abiding impressions of its 
magnificent mountain chains. Later on, these 
impressions were renewed through reading the 
masterly descriptions of the celebrated Tian- 
Shan pioneer, P. P. SemenofF, and through study 
of the reports of his successors, N. A. Severzoff 
and J. W. MushketofF, who have earned for 
themselves liigh honour by their researches. The 
desire was accordingly kindled in me to gain more 
accurate insight into the highest regions of this 
mountain chain and its glaciers, and also to con- 
tribute somewhat to their exploration. 

Extensive travels, however, in other mountain 



lands and labours of large compass in other fields 
barred the way for ten years to the gratification 
of my desire. At length in January, 1902, during 
my stay in the Russian capital, the initiatory steps 
were taken. There, encouraged by the assured 
support of the Imperial Russian Geographical 
Society, especially its President, his Imperial 
Hiirhness the Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich, 
and its Acting President, Senator P. P. SemenofF, 
I determined to start that year on my travels 
into the Tian-Shan. SemenofF's valued counsels 
and the study of the rich Russian literature on that 
mountain chain, handed over to me most oblig- 
ingly by the Secretary of the Imperial Russian 
Geographical Society, Prof Grigorieff, confirmed 
me in my opinion that one summer would not 
suffice for the accomplishment of any substantial 
result in the high regions of the Central Tian- 
Shan, so extensive and so difficult of access, but 
that, first and foremost, experience would ha^'e 
to be gathered respecting the technical difficulties, 
awaiting the explorer in ice-and-snow regions of 
quite a unique type. From the first, therefore, 
I was resolved to devote at least two years to 
tlic enterprise. 

Our knowledge of the orographical and geo- 
logical structure and of the flora and fauna of 
the Tian-Shan lias been enriched by many eminent 
Russian explorers. Its highest regions, however, 
buried in snow and ice, had hitherto remained 
but very imperfectly known. A more thorough 
ex[)loration was needed to answer the many 


questions, respecting the structure of the central 
parts, which a glance into the existing maps at 
once called forth, and to throw light on many 
dark points in the later history of the mighty 
configuration of the chain. Our knowledge, 
again, of the glaciers of Central Tian-Shan has 
been greatly increased, more particularly by the 
explorations of A. W. von Kaulbars, and by the 
expedition of I. W. IgnatiefF and A. M. Krassnoff, 
fraught in many respects as it was with important 
results. There still, however, remained much, 
particularly in respect of the largest glaciers, 
craving elucidation. In order to explore extensive 
glacier regions and their environment, and to 
unravel the complex structure of the parts not 
easily surveyable, it is necessary to follow up the 
glacier valleys to their head and to climb peaks 
of great elevation with a view to obtaining a 
comprehensive plan and orientation. For such a 
task three prime requisites were wanting to my 
predecessors : practice, experience, and outfit. It 
seemed to me therefore imperative to enlist 
" Alpinism " in the service of geographical science 
in the Tian-Shan, in accordance with the example 
of so many travellers of brilliant accomplishment 
in other regions of lofty mountains. I accord- 
ingly invited to join me in my enterprise one 
of the best approved of modern Alpinists, the 
engineer Hans Pfann, of INIunich, a truly valu- 
able aid, and further engaged a young and 
vigorous Tyrolese mountain guide, to whom, the 
following year, was added a second guide. 


By way of special provision for the geological 
service of the expedition, and with a view to 
amassing a palaeontological collection, I secured 
the assistance of a young and energetic geologist, 
not to be daunted by difficulties in the ground 
to be surmounted. Prof. Steinmann, of Freiburg, 
Baden, was good enough to recommend to me 
one of his pupils and assistants, the young 
geologist Herr Hans Keidel, who on my invita- 
tion joined the expedition. With the trusty 
support of such assistants I might hope to obtain 
some data of value in the service of science. 

Unfortunately the time assigned to the pre- 
paration of an undertaking of such compass, 
extending over so long a period, for procuring 
and testing the indispensable instruments, 
apparatus, and manifold outfit, was all too scantily 
allotted. Only by dint of feverish exertion and 
the active help of self-sacrificing friends, among 
whom I will name only the celebrated mountain 
photographer, Cavaliere Vittorio Sella of Biella 
and tlie Caucasian explorer, M. von Dechy in 
Odessa, Mas the expedition for 1902 set on foot 
in tolerable time, though, indeed, several weeks 
later than desirable. 

In this report, written in Tashkent, immediately 
after the rcluiii of the expedition from the 
mountains,' it is of course impossible for me to 

' 'I'liiM report was .icspatdied from Tashkent on April 18th, 
IIKH, loiij^ Id-foro llic publication of the narratives of Dr. Fried- 
rir-liMMi (" l-orschiuiffsreiHen in den Central Tian-schan u. Dsunga- 
riwhcn Ala-tiu " : MiftfiPi/inufrn ilvr (.'iw/rapfii.srhm dcscllschaft iu 
IIuniburK, IJd. XX. August l'J04) and ISigr. Ciiulio Brochcrel ("In Asia 


render an exact account of all the work done 
throughout this long and toilsome journey, 
or to communicate all the observations of 
scientific interest. The purpose of this report 
is rather to give particulars of the itinerary 
of the expedition and a general narrative of its 
experiences, especially those new or hitherto 
unknown. The more elaborate digest, embody- 
ing comprehensive deductions, must be reserved 
to a later date after the rich collections, amassed 
by the expedition, have been scientifically exam- 
ined and arranged ; this latter task will, however, 
presumably claim a lengthened period of time. 
Accordingly, the more detailed report of the 
journey, for which Herr Keidel has undertaken 
the elaboration of the geological and geotectonic 
part, can hardly be published till a somewhat 
remote date. It seemed therefore advisable to 
give in the preliminary report rather more than 
a bare enumeration of data and to render it at 
least a provisional picture of the districts traversed. 
In this report I have endeavoured more particularly 
to embody observations on the present and past 
glacier conditions of the Tian-Shan and on 
peculiarities in the physical features of its valley 

Ceutrale " : BoUettino deJla Societa Geogrufica Italiana : July 1904), when 
I had not the slig^htest knowledge of the results of the former or even 
of the routes followed by the Italian expedition. Hence no reference 
to either publication will be found in the present report, the appearance 
of which would have been too long delayed, had I attempted to 
incorporate comparative notes after my return. Moreover, I was 
quite unaware, wlien writing my report, that several valleys and 
localities, to whicli I had every reason to suppose mine to be the 
first visit, had been previously reached by the Italian expedition. 


formations ; subjects to which, throughout the 
expedition, my attention was specially directed. 
On the other hand, in order not to give to the 
report a compass which would retard its publication, 
botanical, zoological, and chmatological observations 
will have to be almost wholly omitted. 

The quoted figures incorporated m the report 
will of course be taken as of only approximate 
vahdity, and are stated in round numbers, seeing 
it ^^^ll require some considerable time till the 
different calculations in question have been com- 
pleted. The various heights given will be accepted 
as ha^'ing only at most an approximate vahdity 
relatively to one another. 

On May loth I left JMunich, accompanied by 
Herren Hans Pfann and Hans Keidel, joined at 
X'^ienna by the previously engaged mountain guide, 
Franz Kostner, of Corvara ; we thence repaired to 
Odessa, whither had been despatched the larger 
part of the luggage. Here we were detained a 
few days in complying with the Custom-house 
formalities and taking over the provisions of con- 
ser\cs, biscuit, etc., which, thanks to friendly 
assistance, were already awaiting us. Owing to 
the fact that the Imperial Russian Ministry of 
Finance had obligingly granted free entry to 
my outfit, instruments, apparatus, etc., the trans- 
actions witii tlie Custom-house were rapidly settled. 
'JMie stay, moreover, in Odessa till the departure 
of the steamer was made grateful to us by the 
ainial)lc hospitalities of the noted explorer, M. 
von Dc'chy, and of the Crimea-Caucasian Mountain 


Club and its most courteous and helpful President, 
Prof. Ilovaisky. 

On May 25th we landed at Batum, and thence 
proceeded to Tiflis, where we were again delayed 
a few days. There I received maps, most kindly 
left for me by the chief of the Topographical 
Department of the Ordnance staff in St. Peters- 
burg, Lieut. -General von Stubendorf. There, too, 
all my instruments were retested at the Observatory. 

At Tiflis I had the high honour of a reception 
from the President of the Imperial Russian Geo- 
graphical Society, his Imperial Highness the 
Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich. As his 
Imperial Highness had in Petersburg facilitated for 
me the introductory steps to the expedition, he 
took a warm interest also in its development and 
assured me of his further assistance. 

After being joined at Tiflis by the Preparator, 
E. Russel, of Piatigorsk, the expedition next pro- 
ceeded, via Baku, to Krasnovodsk, and then, by 
the Trans-Caspian railway, to Tashkent. There, in 
consequence of letters of recommendation from the 
Imperial Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and 
War, and thanks to the letter of accreditation of 
the Imperial Russian Geographical Society, I met 
with the friendliest reception from his Excellency 
the Governor- General of Turkestan, Lieut.- 
General Ivanoff. In the most handsome manner 
official papers were given me, ensuring me the 
support of all authorities in the Russian lands to 
be traversed by me. 

Seeing the expedition was to extend over two 


years, the provisions and materials of different 
kinds had to be divided, and the part intended for 
the second year packed and forwarded to Kashgar. 
Thanks to the active support of my revered friend 
Herr R. Schubert in Taslikent, this and other 
affairs were happily disposed of On June 9th, 
therefore, the expedition of five persons, now 
heavily encumbered with lugoage, was enabled to 
enter on its lumbering tarantass-passage through 
the Central Asiatic steppes. 

\A'hile 1 was on my way alone from Pishpek, 
which I left on June 18th, to Vernoie, there to 
present myself to the District Governor of 
Scmircchcnsk, his Excellency Lieut. -General 
lonofF, and to receive from him special letters 
of introduction to the authorities under his 
a(hninistration, Hcrren Pfann and Keidel made an 
excursion to tlic Alexander Mountains, climbing 
one of the highest peaks. Meanwhile, under 
charge of Kostner and Russel, the heavy luggage 
was farther carried by Dunganian carters to 
Pr/licvalsk. On June 24th I rejoined my fellow- 
travellers in 'J'okmak, whence our marcli lay 
along the north bank of Lake Issyk Kul to 
Przhevalsk. There I had the pleasure of en- 
countering the expedition of Prof Saposhnikoff, 
of 'I'onisk, and its mcnil)ers, among them Dr. 
M. I''ric(h'icliscn, of Hamburg. Friendly greetings 
were exchanged. At first I was under some 
apprehensions, lest tlie Russian expedition and 
mine might clash in their respective routes through 
the high niounhiins -a contretemps which in the 


interest of science would be all the more regret- 
table, inasmuch as in the extensive and little- 
explored Tian-Shan there was ample room for the 
exploratory enterprise of more than one expedition. 
At once Prof. Saposhnikoff frankly communi- 
cated to me his programme, and we found that 
our routes would only cross eacli other in the 
Sary-jass valley at the foot of the SemenofF glacier. 
As, moreover, the Russian expedition had assigned 
to that strip of the mountain chain no more than 
a few days — quite insufficient for a thorough 
exploration of the SemenofF glacier, included as 
an essential item in my programme- — my appre- 
hensions were happily shown to be groundless. 



A SERIOUS drawback to the progress of our 
expedition was the delay for nearly a week of 
the arrival of our luggage at Przhevalsk. Not 
till July 2nd was our advance by the San-tash 
pass to Karkara begun. In crossing the pass 
(7,200 ft. ; 2,155 m.) made know^n to the world 
by Scnienolf and ServerzofF, we had the opportunity 
of gathering in our first carboniferous fossils in the 
Tian-Shan. On tlie descent of the pass, which 
leads through extensive tertiary deposits, one 
conies up on the first indications of glacier forma- 
tion in this region : porphyry granite and syenite 
blocks transported thither by ice from the heights 
of Kungeu and Kuuluk-Tau. Soon after, on the 
desfcnt from tlie tertiary sandstone heights at 
Taidy-biilak, the wide, green-mantled, ancient lake- 
floor of Karkara ((5,000 ft.) is seen below, encom- 
passed on the south by a long, many-peaked, 
calcareous chain (Rash-ogly-tagh), bearing on it 
sniaJi glaciers, and towering above the lake-floor 
to a height of 4,500 ft. (1,200 m.). On its 


margin the ancient lake-terraces are in good 

On the north and north-west the \^^de basin is 
enclosed by low, flat tertiary ridges, offshoots of 
the Chiil-adyr, behind which crop up here and 
there the much more considerable heights of 
Ketmen-Tau. On the south-west edge of the 
basin, in these tertiary deposits, considered 
hitherto deprived of fossils, Herr Keidel had 
the rare good fortune to collect a small fauna, 
which may prove of great importance for the 
determination of a part at least of these tertiary 

Alpine meadows, dressed in flora of surpassing 
beauty, adorn the wide, high-lying floor, strewn 
with debris. In its midst there rises up every 
year, from INIay to October, a spacious town of 
metal houses and wooden booths — the famous 
yearly market, that is of such great importance 
to the extraordinarily numerous Kirghiz population 
of the Tekes, Chalkody-su, Kegen, and Charyn 
region. Thousands of Kirghiz tents collect in 
a wide circle around the wooden town. This 
is the mart where the Kirghiz exchange their 
products of wool, hides, sheep, and horses for the 
manufactiu'cd goods, exposed for sale by dealers 
mostly of Tartar race. Here, in a secluded green 
Alpine bottom, completely withdrawn from the 
highways of the world, walled in by mountain 
chains glittering in glacier snow, the traveller may 
admire a lively tumult of business and contemplate 
modes of commerce, belonging to an epoch of 


culture, unkno^^^l for centuries past in Europe. 
Here he may study scenes of a picturesque charm, 
not to be easily surpassed anywhere else. During 
the four months of the yearly market the seat 
of the administrative authorities of the regions in 
question is transferred to this spot. It thus 
happened that the head of the Narynkol district, 
J. I. LikhanofF, on whom depended the future 
fate of the expedition, had his official seat at this 
odd market-town. Here the greater part of the 
riding- and packhorses, as also the saddles, covers, 
headgear, etc., appertaining thereto, had to be 
bought. Here, too, a number of Kirghiz " Jigits " 
(troops serving for escort) familiar \^'ith the moun- 
tain routes and some porters from the discharged 
Narynkol Kossacks had to be engaged. The safe 
transport of later supplies of provisions to the 
high mountain regions and many other matters 
had to be settled. Thanks to the energetic support 
of Herr Likhanoff", these affairs were satisfactorily 
disposed of in a few days. 

On July 7th I was able to continue my march 
to tlie Kossack village of Narynkol (Okhotnichi). 
'J'hc way thither leads from the luxuriant grass- 
plains of the ancient lake-basin, over the adjacent 
undulating high plains, into a spacious green 
landscape, the configuration of which is throughout 
due to former ice-action. The peaks of the long, 
niiich curved mountain chains, Bash-ogly-tagh 
and Kapyl-Tau, shooting up in the south are 
intersected by wide, trough-shaped, high-lying 
valleys, each of which is occupied by a small 


field of nev^ and a small glacier. As may be 
distinctly perceived, these are only the remains 
of former ice-cm-rents of considerable extent, the 
course of which may be satisfactorily traced by 
the ground, lateral and terminal moraines re- 
maining intact and now coated over with vegeta- 
tion. All superficial forms, characteristic of a 
landscape vacated by the ice, even drumlins, 
may here be observed. On a second visit to this 
district, the way led me into a larger lateral 
valley (Bash-kara-bulak), where I had the oppor- 
tunity of more closely examining these typical 
forms of a vanished glacial epoch, and to follow 
them into the cauldron-shaped hollows of the 
mountain chain, where great masses of glacier 
snow once rested. 

Beyond Sary-jass-tuty station you leave the 
river-bed of the Chalkody-su, and, crossing the 
mountain chain through the glen of Tute, enter 
the uppermost valley of the Tekes. On the way 
the traveller, viemng the circular wall of the 
mountain chain, is already impressed by a feature 
characteristic of the Central Asiatic mountains 
and especially the Tian-Shan. The mouths of the 
great transverse valleys of older origin are always 
wide and their floor at the same level as that of 
the principal valley. This is due to the enormous 
amount of debris piled on the latter in a region 
poorly drained, and covering the base of the margin 
of the mountain chain. 

The farther march to Narynkol is confined 
almost entirely to the region of the tertiary 


formation and of the younger river and lake 
deposits. Only a stage distant, however, in the 
above-mentioned glen of Tute, you cross a 
zone of quartz-porphyries and hornblend-por- 
phjTies, at the foot of which lie the tertiary 

On July 9th the expedition entered Staniza 
Narynkol (G,200 ft. ; 1,760 m.), lying near the 
northern foot of the first lower chain of the Central 
Tian-Shan, hard by the Chinese frontier. This 
place served for a length of time as headquarters 
for the explorations in the high mountains. Seeing 
our arrival took place three weeks later than had 
been planned, there was no time to lose if any 
results were yet to be harvested in what was 
left of the short summer. 

Herr Keidel took in hand the in\'estigation of 
the tertiary formation of the Tekes plain, and 
of the carboniferous limestones, towering up behind 
it. On July 10th I made my first mountain 
excursion, and, with Herr Pfann, the Tyrolese 
Ivostncr, and a Kossack from the Tekes valley, 
rode some twenty versts (thirteen English miles) 
down to the mouth of a transverse valley, cutting 
in a southward direction into the mountain chain, 
a valley known by the name of Mukur-mutu. 
l}et^vccn the great transverse valleys of the Great 
and the Little Musart rivers, which, in an approxi- 
mately southern course, cut into its northern slope, 
the great chain is again divided, principally by 
three short transverse valleys, filled with exceed- 
ingly dense pine-forest— the JMukur-mutu valleys— 


which, after short courses, terminate in an extensive 
high plateau region. The Kahnuck population 
of the Tekes valley understand in general, under 
the name of the Mukur-mutu, the whole slope of 
the mountain chain between Little and Great 
Musart with all the transverse valleys, intersecting it. 
According to this acceptation, Mukur-mutu w^ould 
therefore designate the region which to the east 
and the west of the great valleys named is bounded 
on the south and south-east by the valleys of 
Maralty and Dondukol, and on the south-west by 
Uertenty valley : valleys of which, later on, there 
will be much to say. The district is known by 
the name also of Kutingy. I was here able at once 
to assure myself that the delineation of the whole 
of this strip of land in the forty-verst map does 
not suggest even a remote idea of the reality. 
Of the JNIukur-mutu valleys, for example, only 
one is shown, and that, too, just three times longer 
than its actual course. In the high plateau region 
in which the Mukur-mutu valleys originate erosion 
has caused only broad channels of little depth. 
The many-peaked chains, walling in the head 
waters of all above-mentioned valleys, form likewise 
the verge of the plateau mass, which on its turn 
swells up into some dome-shaped heights. By the 
forty-verst map it looks, as though Khan-Tengri 
towered up here in the southern enclosing wall 
of the plateau, and to make sure of the fact was 
the motive to this excursion. We wandered but 
a short distance through the most western 
of the Mukur-mutu valleys — their mouth about 


6,400 ft. (1,850 m.) high — and soon turning sharp 
eastwards, we made a very steep cUmb over slopes 
wooded and carpeted with Alpine meadows of 
unsurpassable luxuriance, displaying a marvellous 
Alpine flora over old ground moraine-deposits. 
After some time craggy ranges of slabby rose- 
coloured granite break through the steep, abraded 
beds of schist and the soft forms of the green- 
clad diluvial deposits covering them, and you 
mount to a stage of the plateau, where we en- 
camped at a height of about 7,700 ft. Thence 
we turned southward and ascended to a far higher 
stage of the plateau, and there soon reached a 
zone of dark, richly fossiliferous, dense limestones. 
AVithout undergoing a high degree of crystal- 
lisation, these limestones, along with the stratified 
granites cropping up between them, have been 
subjected to enormous pressure, so that most of 
the organic inclusions were crushed beyond identi- 
fication and also transformed into silicates, of which, 
too, but very little is to be obtained. The booty 
gathered was therefore small. On a second visit, 
tlic following year, to the valley, we were fortunate 
enough to pick up, at another spot, a somewhat 
better collection, from which the age of the lime- 
stones was determined to be lower carboniferous. 
Tlicse dense, dark limestones alternate with light- 
coloured and somewhat granular calcareous slates, 
and, farllicr on, with red argillaceous-calcareous 
slates. The whole series follows the dip of the 
granites (average direction N. by 35^ E.), which 
in their turn, follow, farther to the south-east, on 


the limestones. The series varies in its course, 
however, very much, and higher up, passes into 
an almost opposite direction. There you find 
yourself in a region of dislocation. A beautiful 
cauldron caused by subsidence, with a little lake 
at its bottom, still lies on the boundary between 
the granites and limestones in this latter formation. 
Higher up, a part of the calcareous mass, composing 
the plateau seems to have subsided to a consider- 
able length, in a southward direction towards a 
trenchlike depression, the axis of which, directed 
east -south-east, is the axis followed by the high 
valley of Maralty, cutting transversely through 
the plateau. A more detailed description of 
this interesting region would exceed the limits 
of this preliminary report. Be it only added 
that the spot where the better preserved fossils 
are to be found, lies exactly in a plain of 

We mounted one of the highest dome- shaped 
protuberances of the plateau (about 11,000 ft. ; 
3,400 m.), there photographed the magnificent peaks 
of the Uertenty valley, and took telephotographic 
views of the high-peaked, ice-covered chain which 
is planted in front of and parallel to the main 
ridge here trending east-south-east. Of this main 
ridge only a few elevations could be seen, towering 
up behind the parallel chain. Did Khan-Tengri rise 
at the spot, where in the forty-verst map and in 
all other maps, it is represented, its pyramid must 
inevitably have been seen from our standpoint. 
All we learned by our excursion was therefore only 



the confirmation of the opinion, previously sug- 
gested, namely, that in this cardinal point the maps 
were all of them at fault. The task therefore 
devolved on us to determine the actual situation 
of Khan-Tengri. 



The first advance made towards the solution 
of this problem led us into the large transverse 
valley of Bayumkol (wrongly named by some 
travellers Karakol and Biankol). The axial 
direction of this valley, some forty miles long, 
changes many times from the spot, where the 
river bursts forth from the mountain chain ; the 
valley cleaves its way through the high land in 
an approximately southern direction, but afterwards 
bends round to the south-east, then to the east- 
south-east. It next again takes a southern direction 
and, at its termination, bifurcates into two branches ; 
one trending south and south-west, the other south- 
east, both of them occupied by considerable glaciers 
and surrounded by chains wholly covered with 
glaciers. The peaks of these chains are among the 
highest of the Central Tian-Shan, rising to 20,000 ft. 
and more. These chains form part of the central 
watershed of the Tian-Shan. The river, rushing 
in large volume down the valley, takes, on issuing 
from the mountains into the vast basin-shaped 
expansion of the Tekes valley, at first an eastern 
direction, flowing through the capacious basins of 



two ancient border-lakes, once connected. Of one 
of these lakes of late tertiary age the margins, com- 
prised of sandstones, sandy clay and slate beds, are 
in excellent preservation. The stream next strikes 
north-north-east by the Staniza Narynkol, and at 
last, taking a northerly course, reaches the Tekes. 
Our way, therefore, into the mountain valley led us 
through a depression beginning some twelve miles 
up the river. This depression, in the neighbour- 
hood of the Staniza Narynkol, is marshy and hedged 
round by a broad belt of dense high-grown bush. 
In this thicket, through which our road led us, 
there were buzzing millions of gadflies. These set 
upon my horses, which had just been brought 
down from the cool mountain meadows, with 
such fierceness that, becoming restless, they dis- 
placed their burdens, and so, getting scared, some 
of them took to flight. In a twinkling the others 
all followed their example. In less than a minute 
all the twelve packhorses, throwing off" their 
loads and dragging their girths after them, bolted 
in mad gallop in all directions all over the wide 
steppe and through its thickets, continually kicking 
at the packages with their hind legs. Instruments, 
apparatus, provisions — everything was flung to the 
winds. Speechless with horror, I looked on at 
the spectacle. Should the altogether indispensable 
articles of outfit, more particularly the instruments 
and apparatus, be smashed, many months would 
be needed to make up for the loss. The ex- 
pedition would be wrecked at its threshold. The 
cases of a number of packages were burst open 


under the horses' hoofs, and their contents, 
especially the boxes of preserves, flung higgledy- 
piggledy among the tall grass of the steppe. 
While some of the ^' Jigits" and Kossacks hurried 
after the runaway animals, the others searched 
among bush and grass for the packages. After 
a time it appeared that the scare was worse 
then the scath, and that I had got rather cheaply 
out of the disaster. The inost valuable articles 
were found to be all of them undamaged. Help 
came from Narynkol, whither I had despatched 
a messenger. The horses were caught and brought 
back ; the damaged cases, straps, etc. were 
hastily mended. After the loss of five hours 
the caravan was again ready for the march. 
It was some time, however, before I recovered 
from the shock. 

So soon as the enclosed basin just mentioned, 
about four and half miles long, had been left in 
our rear by a narrow passage in its enclosing wall, 
we entered another basin, much more extensive 
still, Avhose northern enxdronment is formed by a 
moderately high calcareous range. The tertiary 
lacustrean deposits of the enclosing wall of the 
basin we had just left are continued along the foot 
of the calcareous range in a series of terraces. In 
this calcareous wall, exactly opposite the mouth 
of the Bayumkol valley, and at the north end 
of the lake-basin, three and one-third miles broad, 
there is noticeable a gatelike breach, through 
which there now flows, in a straight course north- 
wards to the Tekes, the inconsiderable streamlet 


Ukurchy. On the other hand, instead of con- 
tinuing its northern course, to which in the wide 
plain there is no opposing obstacle, and thereby 
reaching the rocky gate in the north and so 
making a direct passage to the Tekes, the 
Bayumkol river, on issuing from the mountain 
chain, all at once bends to the east. It there- 
upon forthwith encounters a calcareous cliff, 
Tas-tepe, barring its path, and which it is bound 
to break through. It has sawn out a deep bed in 
the calcareous rocks at the edge of the mountain 
chain in order to be able to continue its farther 
course east, north-east, and north, till at last it 
reaches the Tekes. What could induce the river 
to make this comphcated journey ? Evidently 
in former times it had taken a straight course 
to the north across the plain and through the 
breach, which it had once itself effected. This 
continued to be its course till in the ice age 
either masses of ice or boulder-deposits blocked 
the passage and compelled it to take an eastern 
course. To the importance of the former glacier 
age the ancient masses of moraines lying on the 
skirts of the mountain ranges in the Tekes valley 
give testimony. In their form and arrangement 
I was able to read that the ice masses in the 
past, pushed forward from the mountain chain, 
liad flooded the crest of the first border chain. 
The mouth of the Bayumkol valley is about 
fbiir-fil'ths of a mile wide; the bottom lies at the 
same level {v'uk p. 13) with that of the princi- 
pal valley (about 7,000 ft), and, owing to the 


enormous masses of deposit, piled on the ancient 
floor, it rises at a quite moderate incline (about 
174 ft. per mile). The valley spreads into 
basins as much as a mile in width, and separated 
from one another by contractions of no more 
than 1,100 ft. Most of these expansions con- 
tained lakes, dammed by the ancient terminal 
moraines, which, in the period of the successive 
retreat of the earlier glacier, got thrown up, one 
behind the other. Only in the case of two of 
these expansions could I make out other causes 
for their origin. One, near the mouth of the 
valley of the Ak-kul, has without doubt been 
formed, or at least developed, by lateral erosion 
of the valley river. Another, at the mouth of 
the lateral valley Tyr-asha, arose in consequence 
of a fault between limestones and chloritic 

Of most of the ancient terminal moraines, only 
inconsiderable remains are preserved. Only two 
of them still block up the valley as enormous 
walls. One is at the mouth of the lateral valley 
of Alai-aigyr, which, running eastwards, affords 
access to the Saikal valley (Little Musart). The 
other is at the mouth of the Kenem-begu valley, 
which leads west to a col, giving access into the 
Ashu-tyr valley. Both moraines, each of them over 
the third of a mile broad, owe their preservation 
to mighty mountain-slips, rolled dow^n and cover- 
ing to a great extent the moraine walls, one of 
the mountain-slips being of granite, the other 
of phyllitic rock. Where these vast masses of 


blocks rest, atmospheric influences and the 
strength of waters, endeavouring to clear away 
the morainic walls were spent in vain. The 
river was obliged to force a passage at both 
places in a deep ravinelike glen, where, to all 
appearance, it resumed and deepened the bed it 
had occupied before the ice age. Besides these 
two monumental witnesses to the once mighty 
glacier conditions of the valley, evidence to the 
same fact is to be found also in the form of high- 
Ijnng pohshed rocks and in the heaps of moraine 
debris or terraces of glacial rubble along the walls 
of the valley, preserved everywhere, where the 
slope is not too steep. These debris heaps form 
higli terraces many miles wide, now on the right, 
now on the left bank. In many places moraine 
debris may be seen towering more than 800 ft. 
above the level of the river. At the mouths of 
many lateral valleys, especially that of the Ashu- 
tyr Aalley, the moraine walls of very considerable 
magnitude, formed of the debris, are in excellent 
preservation, at the mouths of others they have 
got washed away and shifted. 

iVt the entrance of the Bayumkol valley the 
enclosing walls are formed of granite, to which, a 
little higher up, succeed fossiliferous limestones and 
calcareous slates, as well as dark argillaceous 
slates, to which, in turn, again granite succeeds. 
Gianites of very various character, limestones, 
cHlcarcoiJs slates, argillaceous slates, also gneiss 
ajul otiier crystalline slates, alternate along the 
whole length of the valley in unintermittent 


sequence and in very peculiar conditions of 
stratification. Into this matter, however, there 
is the less need to enter here, as Herr Keidel 
has taken a geological profile of the valley, which 
he will publish and elucidate in the geological 
part of the more complete report. I may, how- 
ever, here call attention to the fact, that granite 
and gneiss take the prominent part in the 
structure of the enclosing walls, that the sedi- 
mentary matter always reappears, pressed between 
the granites, without, however, showing any 
sign of contact-metamorphosis, and that the 
granites appear to have been vehemently ground. 
This points to folding processes which have 
affected both kinds of rocks in common. We 
further note the embedding of diabasic rocks, 
more especially diabasic slates. Lastly, here too 
attention must be drawn to the important fact, 
first established in the Bayumkol valley and since 
confirmed in all the Tian-Shan valleys, leading 
to the principal ridge, which were visited by the 
expedition — the fact, namely, that in every case 
the crystalline rocks reach no farther than 
proximity, nearer or more remote, to the main 
watershed. This latter is itself built up exclu- 
sively of sedimentary rocks, which have undergone 
transformation through dynamo-metamorphic pro- 
cesses, in part also in consequence of the eruption 
of diabasic rock. In the structure of the most 
central and highest region of the Central Tian- 
Shan, not only limestones of different kinds have 
taken part, but also dense, dark, argillaceous 


slates of very various formation, dark slates, 
having the character of roofing-slate, prepon- 
derating, and marbles of different colours, mostly- 
white, grey or with Hght streaks. 

The valley presents the character of a northern 
Alpine valley, showing excellent Alpine meadows 
and extensive and very dense pine forest {Picea 
Shrenkeana), with which are here and there com- 
bined deciduous trees, such as sorbus, willow, 
cornus, mountain ash. The somewhat auriferous 
alluvium of the river was, more than forty-five 
years ago, when the district still belonged to China, 
exploited by the Chinese. Later, the attempts 
to find gold were prosecuted with the aid of 
extensive plant by Russian speculators. It would 
appear, however, that they did not pay, seeing 
the constructions are no longer worked and 
are fallen into decay. 

The river carries an uncommon volume of water, 
and, in the warm hours of the day, rushes in 
raging flood down its bed. It is therefore 
dangerous to cross, as I learned to my cost. One 
of the packhorses, slipping, was at once carried 
away into a whirlpool, whence it was rescued 
only with the greatest exertion. Of its load a 
package was lost, containing all my personal 

Just before reaching tlie mouth of the side 
valley of Ashu-tyr, and behind a belt of wood 
whicli stretches diagonally across the main valley, 
the magnificent pyramid of Khan-Tengri suddenly 
comes into view. The mountain looks so near 

TELEP110T..,.KAIinC VII, W UF KllA.N-I£.Nt.lU (aKOL'T 23,0^ II.), TAKEN FKOil .NOKlil, h Ko.M 

[To face p. 26. 


as to convey the illusive impression that it is 
planted in the background of the Bayumkol 
valley. Arriving at the end of the great granite 
rockslip, lying on the top of the first ancient 
terminal moraine at the debouchement of the 
lateral valley of Alai-aigyr, one sees, far below, 
the middle course of the Bayumkol valley as a 
forest-encircled basin with a quite level bottom ; 
here, on the other hand, the view is magnificently 
closed by Khan-Tengri, and it seemed again as 
if at the end of the Bayumkol valley we should 
reach the foot of the giant mountain. There we 
found indeed the head of a valley, exhibiting 
magnificent glaciers and a circle of very high 
mountains clothed with ice from their feet to 
their summits, but Khan-Tengri was not among 
them. Owing to the fact that the mountain has 
no rival and overtops the highest summits of all 
the neighbouring ranges by over 3,000 ft., it can 
be identified from points of sufficient altitude 
and at sufficient distance in any direction whatever. 
The determination of its position, with a careful 
exploration and topographical survey of the 
Bayumkol glacier, and the geological investigation 
of the ranges bounding the valley, would shortly 
form our task. 

Our camp was pitched at the end of the 
main valley at an altitude of about 10,500 ft. 
(3,200 m.), near the spot where the glacier arms, 
approaching one another from the south-east and 
south-west, unite in one common terminal tongue 
which ends about 10,660 ft. (3,250 m.) in altitude. 


While the south-western glacier (the longer one) 
forms a rather compact, not A^ery steeply inclined, 
ice-field, about eight miles (twelve versts) long, which 
has its origin between snow-clad peaks on a lofty 
snow-clad ridge (first trodden by me the following 
year), the south-eastern glacier is somewhat shorter, 
but much steeper and more rugged ; it is formed 
by the union of three ice-streams which, breaking 
through gorges in the ice-clad ramparts of the 
valley, unite in a circus-shaped basin. On the 
surface of the ice a number of funnel-shaped 
lakes are hollowed out. The wide ice-basin is 
immediately overhung by a mountain which for 
height, massiveness, and boldness of form is 
the most commanding of the giant peaks which 
rise round the Bayumkol glacier. From its 
ice-clad shoulder on the north-west side a per- 
pendicular wall about 6,500 ft. (2,000 m.) in 
height, on which, of course, neither snow nor 
ice can remain, falls straight to the rugged 
broken ice of the glacier-floor. This precipice 
is of white, grey and streaked marble, and for 
this reason we called the mountain the " Marble 
Wall" ('Marmorwand'). Like Khan-Tengri, this 
commanding mountain stands conspicuous as a 
landmark of the Central Tian-Shan, an orientation 
point. It can be recognised by its remarkable 
height and by the fact that it towers up just 
at the point of union of the main ridge with 
its branches, visible far and wide from every 
point on the high ground. Seen from the Tekes 
plain, it is known by its remarkable form and 


its precipitous marble side. It was not till later 
that we proved what an important part it plays 
in the formation of the Tian-Shan. 

During two weeks which we spent in the 
Bayumkol valley, we were busy with the investi- 
gation of the glaciers and their surrounding hills, 
Herr Pfann in addition taking measurements 
and making a survey, while Herr Keidel prepared 
a geological section of the valley and collected 
the material necessary for its corroboration. These 
labours were, however, often interrupted and 
sometimes hindered by two causes — inclement 
weather, and the refusal of the porters to work 
on difficult ground. The summer of 1902 was on 
the whole distinguished by unsettled weather. 
Moreover, in the high valleys of the Central 
Tian-Shan this variability was affected in a 
conspicuous manner by local conditions. As was 
often proved in the course of the journey, and 
as could be established from the meteorological 
observations, which were recorded regularly twice 
a day, each separate valley has its own meteoro- 
logical character, which depends on the direction of 
the axis of the valley. For the Bayumkol valley 
the determining factor is that, being wide open 
to the north, it debouches immediately into the 
wide Tekes plain. The layers of air stagnating 
there and rapidly cooled during the night are, 
towards midday, set in violent commotion, owing 
to the uncommonly effective insolation of the 
floor of the steppe ; they rush in storm towards 
the mountain range and penetrate the wide chasm 


of the Bayumkol valley to its upper stretches, 
where, rapidly decreasing in temperature on the 
comparatively cold slopes, which extend to the 
north and north-east, they condense their vapour. 
The weather in the upper valley was, as a rule, 
good in the forenoon, but the force of the 
current of air, which regularly ascends from 
the plain in the middle of the day, is so great 
that it displaces that which, earlier in the day, 
prevails in the upper valley, and the latter does 
not regain its ascendency and restore calm till 
evening. With great regularity towards noon 
the air became dull ; about two or three o'clock 
torrents of rain or snowstorms began, and after- 
wards, during the evening and night, fine clear 
weather prevailed. These winds, however, con- 
dense their moisture on the middle heights, and 
the highest ridges receive but little of it. At 
our headquarters, about 10,500 ft. (3,200 m.) high, 
the Aveather was always worse than at our camps, 
3,300—6,600 ft. (1,000—2,000 m.) higher, where 
our work was mainly carried on. In the valley 
the precipitation was more continuous and more 
copious. The dry, loose condition of the snow 
on the extreme heights of the Tian-Shan (of 
which more hereafter) receives from these facts 
at least a partial explanation, though doubtless 
other circumstances are also partly accountable 
for it. 

As for the porters, one-half of the Kirghiz 
deserted in the night, and the other half refused 
to serve, if they should have to climb on foot over 


glacier ice at the higher elevations and carry on 
their back loads of quite moderate weight. Our 
discharged Kossacks were somewhat better, but 
they would not undertake what an Alpine porter 
of only average strength accomplishes with ease, 
to say nothing of the loads, carried by the natives 
in Sikkim and Kashmir. They usually showed 
the greatest aversion to snow at a great altitude, 
though I had equipped them all with Tyrolese 
shoes nailed for mountain wear, as well as crampons 
and ice-axes. 

If to the unfavourable factors already mentioned 
there is added the bad condition of the high snow, 
which, especially on the northern and eastern 
slopes, lay dry and powdery on a surface of ice, one 
can easily imagine the wretched difficulties which 
opposed our investigations. I soon perceived that 
the extreme heights of the Tian-Shan are no 
proper field for the gratification of the Alpine 
craze. Our incipient purpose of climbing the 
" Marble Wall " had to be given up, since the 
porters could not be induced to carry the baggage, 
indispensable for a prolonged sojourn over heights 
of 16,000 ft. (5,000 m.), to a saddle at the foot 
of the north-western arete of the mountain. We 
had pitched our little mummery-tent at a spot free 
from ice, about 12,500 ft. (3,800 m.) high, on a de- 
pression in the north-eastern rampart of the eastern 
glacier. Thence we made excursions to the lofty 
granite peaks in the north-west, from 14,000 to 
14,800 ft. (4,300—4,500 m.) high, wi'eathed with 
small glaciers. The granite is there altered in an 


unusual and multifarious manner in consequence of 
mountain pressure. Next we went to the com- 
pletely snow-clad schist summits, 16,500 to 18,000 
ft. (5,000 — 5,500 m.) high, to the south-east of the 
high camp, to get from these heights an insight 
into the formation of the surrounding chains, and 
into the course of the valleys, which separate them, 
as well as to take photographic (especially tele- 
photographic) panoramic ^dews. These would be 
of great value for the completion of the topographic 
surveys, in which, moreover, the detail was obtained 
by photography. 

Of these excursions the following was of special 
interest: On July 28th, soon after midnight, we 
left a bivouac at 14,000 ft. (4,300 m.) on the north- 
eastern rampart of the eastern glacier, and out- 
flanked that obstacle by traversing in the dark, over 
dangerous ground, the south-west flank of a lofty 
snow-clad summit. We then chmbed the next 
peak, about 16,500 ft. (5,000 m.), and descended 
several hundred metres to a snow-saddle, and 
again worked our way up to a similar dome- 
shaped ridge about 15,800 ft. (4,800 m.) high. 
Thence we descended towards the east, and thus 
reached the head of a hitherto unknown valley, 
quite filled with glacier ice. The course of this 
valley was first north-east, then east, and finally 
south-east, debouching in the neighbourhood of the 
Musart pass, and having thus a length of about 
twenty-six miles (forty versts). From the quite 
level ice-floor of the valley-head we turned towards 
the south-west, ascended about 1,300 ft. (400 m.) 


over nevd-covered slopes and, passing over a wide 
snow-clad ridge, reached the foot of the north- 
west arete of the " Marble Wall." There a magni- 
ficent view opened out, towards the west over 
the wild glacier region of the Bayumkol, and 
towards the east over the far-stretching ice-field 
of the newly discovered valley. This is bounded 
on its south side by a commanding ice-clad range 
of splendid peaks, stretching away towards the 
Musart pass. Tn the deep bays between these 
peaks lie exceedingly rugged and picturesque 
many-terraced glaciers, which descend steeply to 
the main glacier. This range, branching off from 
the " Marble Wall," without doubt forms the main 
watershed between the northern and southern 
slopes of the Central Tian-Shan, as was proved 
to a certainty by subsequent observations from 
various points of view. I estimate the average 
height of the ridge of this chain at about 
16,400 ft. (5,000 m.), and that of the peaks at 
more than 19,500 ft. (6,000 m.). There is only one 
deep depression in this mountain rampart. My 
expectation of seeing Khan-Tengri, towering up 
in it, was disappointed, and the question as to 
its position became ever more mysterious. It 
could not be far off, but in which of the valleys, 
lying behind this range, could it rise ? Once 
more the inaccuracy of all the maps of this 
region was proved. There, where, according to 
the maps, Khan-Tengri should be, rises the 
*' Marble Wall." The northern rampart of the 
ice-valley, though not so lofty as the southern, 



is imposing enough ; through the indentations 
of its crest we could see an ocean of peaks, 
many of which had never before been looked 
on by human eye. They belong, in part, to 
the mountain range, bounding the unexplored 
valleys to the north-east and east of our position, 
some of which, at least, I was able to traverse in 
the following year. 

Owing to the nearly complete covering of snow 
and ice on these lofty ranges, one could see but 
little or nothing of their geological structure. That 
diabase must be represented in them was shown 
by blocks among the meagre debris at the head 
of the valley. In the following year I was able 
to determine their composition, which is identical 
Avith tliat of the range at the head of the 
Bayumkol valley. In viewing these mighty pro- 
tuberances of the ground, rising round us, one 
could not but perceive that the broad masses of 
the mountain ranges east and west of my position 
are cleft only by the courses of a few deep valleys, 
evidently of very old formation, and are thus 
di\ided into single groups {massifs), whose roofs 
are in most instances furrowed only by elevated 
troughs or not very deep channels, separating 
narrow crests and numerous peaks which rise out 
of the plateaux. The mouths of these smaller 
elevated valleys, retaining snow and tiny glaciers, 
almost always lie very high above the level of the 
main valley. Without discussing this interesting 
subject, I sliall only mention that at the time 
when the channels of the main valleys were still 


filled high with ice, the small contributory glaciers 
in the upper valleys disembogued at the level 
of the surface of the glaciers in the main 
valleys. As the glaciers, both below and above, 
retreated (the tributaries far faster than the main 
glaciers), erosion by the action of flowing water 
was, in consequence of the rapidly increasing 
dryness of the climate, insufficient to contribute 
materially to the development of these newer 
valleys, while, on the other hand, in consequence 
of the enhanced destruction of the mountain 
crests, the filling up of the hollows with debris 
began and continued till these were again partially 
filled with snow and ice, o^ving to a renewed 
but less copious glacial period. In the con- 
figuration of the roof of these ranges, accordingly, 
we see the result of erosion and excavation no 
longer in vigorous action, while, in all the deep 
channels, especially during the interglacial periods, 
both continued and still continue to act very 

The continuously unfavourable condition of the 
weather in the Bayumkol valley caused me, though 
my labours were not yet ended, to leave it for 
the time and not return till autumn, when, with 
less conflict between the thermal conditions of 
plain and mountain, more settled weather might 
be expected. I wished to try whether better 
weather would not fa\'our exploration in one of 
the larger valleys, the Sary-jass valley. 



We withdrew about sixteen miles (twenty-five 
versts) from the head of the (Bayumkol) valley, and 
then turned southwards into the Ashu-tyr side 
valley, already mentioned, which possesses great 
wealth of water, alpine meadow, and pine forests. 
The valley has an approximate length of sixteen 
miles (twenty-five versts), and, ascending steeply 
in three stages, stretches with many turnings, but 
on the whole in a south-south-westerly direction, 
following the strike of the gneiss ; this often passing 
into granite, and alternating w^ith limestones, phyl- 
lites, metamorphosed schists and especially marble 
schists forms the boundaries of the valley which 
especially in its lower course, are ruggedly peaked. 
INIarbles and marble schists show, particularly at the 
head of tlie valley, great disturbance and extraordin- 
ary clca\'age, due to fractures. The valley every- 
where displays traces of its former ice-covering, not 
only in the deposits of drift, but also in the grinding 
and rounding of the lateral cliffs, noticeable hi a 
high degree in the upper portion of the valley. Its 
supply of glacier-ice is no longer great, yet some 
of the many side-valleys, which open into it, 



contain small glaciers, while two of them have 
glaciers of more considerable size, which, however, 
are also in a period of rapid retreat. Everywhere 
snow and ice (to be seen especially on the slopes 
of some rugged, massive peaks) are limited to 
northern and eastern exposure. At the head of 
the valley we made a very steep ascent o\^er marshy 
meadow-land (water being everywhere in the valley 
surprisingly abundant), an old gi-ound moraine, 
covering the mountain slope and reached a glacier, 
the crossing of which was very difficult for the 
horses on account of its covering of soft snow, 
and owing to crevasses, which the snow concealed. 
Crossing the snowy ridge about 12,800 ft. (3,900 m.) 
high, we reached the Karakol valley, which opens 
into that of Sary-jass. 

I must here remark that the Kirghiz know no 
other name for this side-valley than " Karakol." 
This, after many inquiries, I was able to establish 
just as surely as that nowhere in the Tekes valley 
do the Kirghiz population or the Kossacks of 
Narynkol or the constituted authorities for the 
Bayumkol valley, apply to it the name " Karakol." 
Hence Herr IgnatiefF is wrong, I think, in re- 
naming the real Karakol valley after his Kirghiz 
guide Bektur-bulak. Geographical names cannot 
be dealt with too carefully if one would avoid 
confusion. Dr. Friedrichsen, wlio, with the 
SaposhnikofF expedition, crossed by the same 
route as we did, but two weeks earlier and in 
the opposite direction, in his " Reisebriefen " 
calls the valley Ashu-tyi', a name which belongs 


only to the valley, running from the pass north- 
wards to the Bayumkol valley. Dr. Friedrichsen 
took this tributary for the main valley, though 
the far greater volume of the main river is alone 
sufficient proof that the main valley must lead 
at its southern end to extensive glaciers. The 
pass itself he calls Narynkol pass, evidently on 
the probably erroneous assumption that it is the 
identical pass, crossed by IgnatiefF and by him 
called Narynkol. If the pass must bear a name, 
Ashu-tyr would be a more suitable one. 

We made a steep descent from the pass in a 
south-westerly direction following the course of the 
Karakol glacier, which comes from dome-shaped, 
snow-clad summits, and is very little laden with drift. 
Our path lay in a hollow between the margin of the 
glacier-tongue, a wall of ice 100 ft. (30 m.) high, 
and the mountain side. The range here consists of 
phyllitic schists, stratified porphyry, granite, hme- 
stones, and extraordinarily riven marbles, as well 
as conglomerates and breccias, which are con- 
nected with the outcropping of the porphyry. In 
the limestones Herr Keidel found badly preserved 
fossils. The rock walls on both sides of the valley 
are polished to a great height by ice, and the lower 
part of the valley may be regarded as a type of a 
valley to a considerable extent shaped by, if not 
entirely due to, the action of ice. Besides the main 
glacier, which, after a course of about three miles 
(four to five versts), ends abruptly in its own debris 
about 3,700 m., there are two other considerable 
glaciers, which come in from the left, but their 


tongues cling to the black slate walls, no longer 
reaching the main glacier ; in a similar condition 
are a number of smaller ones, which lie in holes and 
corners of the rock sides of the valley. The lower 
course of the valley, much widened in consequence 
of faults (one is especially finely exposed), has 
been eroded into the form of a kettle, owing not 
only to the action of the main glacier, but also to 
the convergent action of the numerous secondary 
glaciers, which formerly forced their way beyond 
their actual boundaries concentrically into this 
valley, thus presenting a true object-lesson on 
the corrosive action of ice. Here also, in conse- 
quence of ruptures as well as of the grinding force 
of the ice and the weathering, which is peculiarly 
active, owing to the valley's being open to the 
south and west, an illustration of advanced 
destruction of the mountain range is presented, 
such as I had seldom seen in the Tian-Shan, 
rich as it is in phenomena of this sort. The 
southern and western exposure, favourable to an 
extraordinary insolation of the dark slate cliffs, 
and the consequent intensity of reflected heat, are 
the cause of a more conspicuous retreat of the main 
and the secondary glaciers than I observed in any 
other valley of similar altitude in the northern 
Tian-Shan. The main glacier at one time de- 
bouched seven miles (ten versts) below its present 
termination to join the giant glacier which formerly 
filled the Sary-jass valley. On a green terrace of 
old morainic drift, near the spot where the Karakol 
stream now flows into the Sary-jass river, I had 


my headquarters at about 11,500 ft. (3,500 m.), 
whence excursions were made for the exploration 
of the SemenofF glacier and the ranges, sur- 
rounding it. 

According to the publications of certain travellers, 
who \isited the Sary-jass valley and penetrated some 
versts upwards on the ice of the SemenofF glacier, 
this ice-stream would appear to be fed from the 
snow-fields of Khan-Tengri. If this were the case, 
the mountain would be situated in the background 
of the ice- valley ; but the course of the valley winds 
about, and even from elevated positions its back- 
gi'ound cannot be recognised with sufficient cer- 
tainty, and the less so that broad side-valleys, 
which themselves have branches, debouch near the 
valley-head. From many points on the margin 
of the Sary-jass valley Khan-Tengri is seen, how- 
ever, always in such position, that one is constrained 
to believe it can only rise at the head of the 
Semenoff glacier. Yet, since in the Bayumkol valley 
I liad settled how far the SemenofF glacier stretches 
northwards ; I was doubtful of this assumption. 
Taking advantage of favourable weather we forth- 
with ascended a mountain, towering immediately 
behind our camping-ground, on the north side of 
the valley. From this snow-crowned level, about 
13,800 ft. (4,200 m.), there is an excellent view 
over the glacier ranges of the Central Tian-Shan. 
The favourable position of the point reached, the 
pellucid air, and the extraordinarily clear light 
made it possible to take a telephotographic pano- 
rama in twelve sheets of 8 by 10 in. which 


will be of great value for the determination of 
positions as well as of the form and course of the 
mountain chains, which constitute the loftiest 
portion of the Tian-Shan. The view over these 
commanding ranges showed that Khan-Tengri has 
no rivals of even approximately equal nobility. 
Though many summits may reach a height of 
over 20,000 ft. (6,000 m.), and a few even 1,500 ft. 
(400 m.) higher, the slender pyramid of Khan-Tengri 
still overtops and dominates thein all. In these 
hurried notes all I can say concerning the rela- 
tive elevation of the Central Tian-Shan is, that the 
greatest altitudes are in the mountains surrounding 
the Bayumkol valley, especially those between it 
and the Semenoff glacier, though these may be 
surpassed by a few of the noble peaks to the south 
of the Adyr-tyr or INIushketofF glacier, but that 
these are all excelled by the mountains on the 
southern boundary of the Inylchek glacier, and 
that at all events the average crest and peak 
altitude of this range must be regarded as the 
highest in the Tian-Shan, a gradual slope towards 
the south beginning here. From our standpoint 
we could establish with certainty that the " JMarble 
Wall " is identical with the summit which on all 
the maps is marked as Khan-Tengri {vide p. 33,) and, 
though its whole importance as a centre of ramifica- 
tion was not completely proved till later, one could 
even now see that in its neighbourhood a parting 
of divergent ranges takes place. The grouping of 
the crests round the topmost pyramid of Khan- 
Tengri, however, as seen from this point, was such 


that one could not say, even with remote confi- 
dence, from which of the valleys it rises, especially 
as in its neighbourhood, about north-east from it, 
there is a seemingly confused crowding together 
of mountain ranges, approaching from different 
directions. It could be conjectured, but not 
settled, that the base of Khan-Tengri, the lord 
of the Tian-Shan, lay in the Inylchek valley. 

Some hundred metres below the top of our 
plateau there extends, like a shoulder of the 
mountain, a terrace on which Herr Pfann marked 
out a base line and fixed its position by astronomical 
observations. From this he determined the position 
and height of Khan-Tengri and others of the most 
prominent points of the Central Tian-Shan, while 
I set about the exploration of the SemenofF glacier 
and its boundary ranges, and Herr Keidel busied 
himself with the investigation of the geological 
structure of the range, surrounding the Sary-jass 
valley below the camp, for which purpose he made 
excursions into the side-valleys on the right bank. 
Where extensive faults occur he found schists, 
phyllites, limestones, granites and diabases, which 
had fallen in small flakes to various levels. In the 
Kashka-su valley he was fortunate in finding 
I)e^'onian limestone. The geological stratification 
and composition of the valley ranges shows 
similarity to those of the Bayumkol valley, but in 
tlie Sary-jass valley diabases are more widely 
difliised tlian in the Bayumkol. More detailed 
notes are reserved for the special geological report. 
The Sary-jass valley is the most extensive and 


the most important of all the valleys of the 
Central Tian-Shan, since it forms the great channel 
for the waters, flowing south to the Tarim. Its 
present configuration without doubt has been 
affected by a glacial period. 

The merit of having first pointed out the 
significance of the glacial deposits which are found 
in the valley, belongs to P. P. Semenoff; the 
wide diffusion of these deposits is, however, even 
more important, as this famous explorer has him- 
self acknowledged. I could observe these and 
other signs of the action of ice in the main valley 
and its secondary valleys up to 1,650 ft. (500 m.) 
above the present level of the river, to such heights, 
that one might infer that formerly the valley was 
almost completely filled with glacier ice. In 
comparison with the thickness of former glaciers, 
that of the beds of nev^ and ice, still found in the 
main valley and its tributaries, is insignificant ; 
nevertheless, these form one of the largest glacier 
regions in the whole of the Tian-Shan, and are, 
as will be proved by the results of my exploration, 
in any case much more important than has 
hitherto been believed. The largest glacier of 
the region is the Semenoff glacier, which hitherto 
was supposed to be the largest of the Tian-Shan. 
I had the good fortune in the course of the 
expedition to obtain proof that it is exceeded in 
length by other ice-streams, one being more than 
double its length. But also, the extent of the 
Semenoff glacier has been hitherto under-estimated. 
According to Ignatieff, who visited it in 1886, its 


length is about seven miles (ten versts) whereas it 
is actually about three times that length. Of its 
breadth and the breadth of its tributaiy glaciers 
there was on the whole up till now no proper 

From various causes, partly also as a result of 
the westerly direction of the axis of the upper 
course of the Sary-jass, we observe the rare 
phenomenon that the main glacier has retreated 
to a greater extent than the still existing side 
glaciers, which — at least, those debouching into the 
upper course of the valley — have almost kept their 
early horizontal length, if not their former thick- 
ness. This, however, is true only of those which 
debouch on the (orographic) left bank, since their 
axis is directed towards the north. Their tongues 
at the debouchement hang like patches of ice over 
ground-moraine debris 600—900 ft. (200—300 m.) 
above the present floor of the main valley, where 
tliis is free from ice. Of those which now terminate 
in tlie region of the main glacier as it at present 
exists, the tongues of the first three no longer 
reach it, but hang 300—500 ft. (100—150 m.) 
above the level of its surface. All the secondary 
glaciers farther east debouching on the main 
glacier, some of them of great extent, unite with 
the main stream, and the level of their floor as 
a whole lies in one plain with that of the latter. 
The unusually gentle slope of all these ice-streams 
(it is only 25 m. per verst or 126 ft. per mile in 
the middle and upper course of the main glacier) 
miglit, in my opinion, point to a considerable 


filling-up of the channels of the valley with 
mountain debris at some time when they were 
not yet covered with ice. 

The side-valleys, debouching on the right bank 
— at least, those debouching into the portion of 
the main valley, now free from ice — have, where 
their axis is directed towards the south, no longer 
any glacier ; only at the head of some of 
them small fields of neve he in recesses (Kare). 
The mouths of these side-valleys lie from 
650 ft. to 1,000 ft. (200—300 m.) above the 
bottom of the main valley ; to reach them one 
has to climb up steep, green, marshy ground- 
moraines. While the chain on the left bank is 
cut into by numerous side-valleys, whose own 
boundary walls, also deeply indented, seem broken 
up into many steep and variously shaped peaks, 
the chain on the right bank is divided by 
relatively few side -valleys, and the walls, bound- 
ing these show far fewer broken crest-lines and 
more plateau-like tops, shattered crests with super- 
imposed tent-shaped peaks. The forces at present 
at work in the formation of mountains do not 
account for these facts, which rather point to the 
conclusion that, prior to the beginning of the 
actual ice-covering of the mountain range, erosion 
was more powerfully at work on the slope ex- 
posed to the north, and destruction (deflation) 
more on that exposed to the south, and con- 
sequently that the climatic conditions were then 
similar to those now prevailing, though they 
may have been less sharply accentuated. At the 


same time, the high angle at which the strata 
composing these ranges are set must be taken 
into accomit. 

Several miles below the tongue of the SemenofF 
glacier the bottom of the valley is hollowed out to 
a basin about a mile and a half (two versts) wide, 
its level floor covered with shingle. At some 
former time the water from the glacier had been 
dammed up here by terminal moraines, so as to 
form a lake ; the basin still holds some small relics 
of lakes. The streams from the glacier are still 
busy, cutting up and carrying away the remains 
of the old moraine ice-drift, which still exists in 
considerable masses. To the climatic difference 
between the two banks is to be traced the fact 
that the tongue of the glacier runs along the 
south bank for more than a verst, where the 
north bank is free from ice. I subsequently 
observed like phenomena in other Tian-Shan 
glaciers with similar exposure. The tongue of 
the SemenofF glacier ends at about 12,000 ft. 
(3, GOO m.) altitude, according to observations 
taken in two consecutive years. The climatic 
difference is shown also in another way, the 
mountain chain along the bank facing south- 
wards having snow and ice only on its summits, 
which are but slightly divided, while its deep 
rocky precipices retain these only in ravines and 
cliannels ; whereas the chain looking north is 
wrapped in a bright garment of snow and ice, 
which seldom shows a rent. This range, much 
divided, stretches eastwards as a row of mighty 


snow-clad, round-headed mountains, horn-shaped 
peaks, and steep ice-ramparts, presenting a magni- 
ficent spectacle. In the middle and upper course 
of the glacier, where its axis is directed more 
to the north-east, the bounding range on the 
right bank also appears to a large extent covered 
with ice, though neither in this respect nor in 
imposing mountain shapes does it equal the 
chain on the left bank, which, besides, is loftier. 
This, and also the circumstance that the glacier 
bottom slopes towards the north, are to be traced 
to the gradual rise of the collective mountain 
mass towards the south. In consequence of the 
slope of the ice-bed towards the north, the water 
from the ice tends to flow to the north bank, 
and the main stream therefore springs, not from 
the end of the ice-tongue, but some versts above, 
from a cavity in the precipitous right side of the 
tongue. I was able to observe similar phenomena, 
due to similar causes, in the other great glaciers 
successively towards the south. 

The glacier has, near its tongue, a breadth of 
about 5,000 ft. (a verst and a half), but widens 
farther up and attains in its middle course a breadth 
of more than two miles (three versts). In its lower 
course its surface is free from snow, but is covered 
with some debris, though to a less extent than other 
great glaciers of the Tian-Shan ; here it is only 
furrowed by some deep troughs, owing to peculiar 
conditions of insolation, dependent on the form and 
exposure of the mountain walls, and also due to 
erosion by melting water ; elsewhere it is uneven, 


in places wa\y, but not penetrated by crevices 
to any gTcat extent. Generally the cleavage of 
the surface is comparatively slight, partly in con- 
sequence of the gentle slope and the evenness of 
its base, which I have already mentioned ; partly 
on account of the absence of lateral pressure, 
since, apart from the immense size of the basin, 
the ice on both sides is separated from the 
rocky banks by deep chasms ; and lastly because, 
as already stated, most of the secondary glaciers 
join the main glacier v^^ithout any descent. The 
principal regions of cleavage are at the arched edges, 
mostly on the right side. There are only a few 
places at which seracs have been formed. 

In consequence of its great extent and its gentle 
slope the Semenoff glacier is fairly constant. I 
have visited it in two consecutive summers, have 
roamed over it in all directions, and altogether 
have spent more than two weeks on its surface, 
but neither at its terminal tongue nor at its 
edges could I find any indication of shrinkage in 
recent times. If a traveller, who paid a flying 
visit to the lowest part of the glacier some years 
ago, reported on its rapid and continual melting 
away, he was probably induced to take this view 
by the many rivulets, gushing over the ice, such as 
are formed in the case of every great glacier (even 
in the European Alps, though perhaps in less 
degree) in the midday hours of hot summer days. 
But for the melting away which takes place in 
the course of a brief Tian-Shan summer under 
the climatic conditions now prevalent, ample com- 


pensation is made by the extraordinary amount of 
snow and ice which the Semenoff glacier receives, 
especially from the very large secondary valleys 
of its upper course. So long as there exist such 
immense stores of snow as I have seen in the 
vast, hitherto untrodden interior of the Central 
Tian-Shan and so long as their masses, impelled by 
their own weight to lower altitudes, continue to 
deliver abundant material for the formation of 
neve and glaciers, there is, in my opinion, no danger 
of a complete drying up of the Tian-Shan, such 
as has been frequently mooted. These vast stores 
of snow, not only on account of the dry condition, 
peculiar to snow at great altitudes in the Tian- 
Shan {vide pp. 30, 31 ; more concerning this here- 
after), but also on account of the low temperature 
of the air at these elevations, undergo ^ ery trifling 
diminution through melting or sublimation, but 
on the contrary are increased by new falls of snow. 
On this interesting subject and on the phenomena 
connected with it, I must not further enlarge 
within the limits of this report. 

Of all the great glaciers of the Central Tian- 
Shan which I have visited, the SemenofF glacier, 
on the whole, shows in its general habit most 
resemblance to the great glaciers of the European 
Alps. Only in one point it is essentially different 
from them : With respect to its great wealth in 
ice-lakes, and with respect to their origin and 
disappearance, I shall state my opinion in a more 
detailed report. Most of them are funnel-shaped, 
and they are rather irregularly arranged on both 



banks of the lower and middle course, but are 
more numerous on the right bank. Many of them 
have considerable length, 640—1,000 ft. (200— 
300 m.), and present a magnificent spectacle when 
the ice-capped giants surrounding the glacier 
valley are mirrored in their green or blue waters. 
The difference in their colour, some being green, 
some blue, is a highly peculiar phenomenon. In 
the upper course of the glacier there are no ice- 
lakes, but in the moraines on the right bank there 
are numerous moraine-lakes, not inconsiderable in 
size. The snow-covering begins in the middle 
course, and is very thick in the upper course. 
A neve basin, resembling a lake, a mile broad, 
oval, trough-shaped, and rising in two stages, but 
elsewhere with only a very slight incline, forms 
the north-eastern and highest portion of the 
glacier, which is enclosed by the southern wall of 
the western Bayumkol glacier. In this range, in 
which some magnificent snow-peaks rise to a 
height of more than 20,000 ft. (6,000 m.) there 
is a deep depression, easily accessible from the 
uppermost snow trough, and to this, since it lies 
at the very head of the Semenoff glacier, I have 
given the name of the SemenofF pass. With a 
favourable condition of the snow-coA'ering of the 
Bayumkol glacier, one would probably be able to 
descend through this opening into the last-named 
valley. Tlie total length of the SemenofF glacier 
from its terminal tongue to this pass is about 
twenty miles (thirty versts). 

The masses of mountain debris, transported by 


the glacier are comparatively small ; the lateral 
moraines have become bank moraines ; the middle 
moraines (there are only two) receive but little 
material, since the great side-valleys, one of which, 
with an average breadth of 3,500 ft. (one verst), has 
an approximate length of seven miles (ten versts), 
are bounded by magnificent mountain chains, whose 
splendid snow and ice mantles show, however, but few 
rents. In the lower reaches of the lateral moraines, 
granites and limestones predominate and elsewhere 
chloritic schists and clay-slate, though limestone as a 
rule is found only in the left moraine, since the lime- 
stone crops out from a bed on the left bank, which 
runs north-east and does not again reach the right 
bank. The middle moraines consist almost entirely 
of granites of varied structure, and of granite 
porphyi'ies, pegmatite, and syenite, with some clay- 
slate ; but these rock fragments become scarcer the 
nearer one approaches to the upper course of the 
glacier. Here we meet with increasingly metamor- 
phosed limestones, slates, and white marbles, and 
also fragments of diabase and diabasic slates. 
This leads to the conclusion that the innermost 
boundary range consists only of this rock series. 

All accurate insight into stratigraphic relations 
is prevented by the thick snow mantle, covering 
the bordering ranges. On the right bank, where 
snow-free slopes occur here and there, the ground 
is covered with a chaos of blocks. 

Unfortunately, in Sary-jass also our work was 
little favoured by the weather, although it was 
not quite SQ unsettled as in the Bayumkol 


valley. From a bivouac on the right margin of 
the moraine, about 12,800 ft. (3,900 m.), some ten 
miles up the glacier, Herr Pfann and I with the 
Tyrolese Kostner ascended a snowy pyramidal 
peak, rising to about 15,750 ft. (4,800 m.). From 
its summit was unfolded to our view in all its 
imposing magnificence the vast icefield with its 
ranges of peaks completely snow- and ice-clad, 
beyond which were visible the still loftier wonder- 
ful mountains of the MushketofF and of the 
Inylchek glaciers — altogether an Alpine prospect, 
such as is to be seen in few other parts of the 
globe. The pyramidal cone of Khan-Tengri was 
visible away to the south-south-east beyond a 
broad snowy summit, surrounded by several inter- 
crossing ridges, so that it seemed already evident 
enough that Khan-Tengri has no connection with 
the SemenofF glacier, although in the absence of 
any trustworthy topographic information it was 
impossible to say from what valley it rises. The 
northward view from our summit was specially 
instructive as to the conformation of the complex 
mountain system, stretching between the Bayum- 
kol, Karakol, and Kapkak valleys, as well as the 
trend of the upland valleys, ramifying through it. 
This was a welcome addition to the observations, 
which we had already made from the heights 
of the Bayumkol valley. There was just time 
to take a number of photographic pictures of the 
whole scene when a sudden snowstorm put an 
end to our observations. 

Being determined to solve the riddle of the 


,t "^ -'f ^ 



TEI.I rlKlTdi.KAl'llli \li,\\ 1,1 liU. .SUMMIT OK K II A N -TE.Nl . RI I A 1;. )r r 2_;,6> o IT. I, lAKEN FROM 


[To face p. 52, 


position of Khan-Tengri, we proposed the very- 
next day to make the ascent of the highest point at 
the head of the SemenofF glacier. This is a superb, 
broad, snowy peak, which is encircled by a system 
of wild seracs and crevasses, and rises some seven- 
teen miles above the tongue-end in the north-eastern 
extremity of the glacier, its highest point exceeding 
19,685 ft. (6,000 m.) by a few hundred metres. 
This wonderful mountain, which dominates the 
whole basin of the SemenofF glacier, I have named 
the " Semenoff peak," in perpetual memory of 
the great services rendered by the energetic 
President of the Imperial Russian Geographical 
Society to our knowledge of the Tian-Shan. 

We started from our elevated station soon after 
midnight. AVith some difficulty we approached 
the right margin, threading our way in the dark 
through the system of lateral crevasses which, 
owing to the sharp bend of the valley to the 
north-east, is here very intricate. Unluckily I 
stepped into a crevasse, thereby so severely sprain- 
ing my left foot that, although still able to get on 
that day with some trouble, I was afterwards fain 
to reserve my strength and prevented for some 
time from taking part in trying excursions. After 
a rapid march of some eight miles over hard-frozen 
snow we reached the foot of the last stage of the 
glacier, from which access is gained to the highest 
nevefield, which is still some three miles distant from 
the " SemenofF pass." the extreme point. From this 
stage of neve we ascended across steep, much-fissured 
snowy slopes in an approximately easterly direction 


and made good progress over the snow, which, thanks, 
to the early hour (5 a.m.)» was in a favourable con- 
dition. We soon reached a considerable altitude, 
so that we felt a confident hope of scaling the top 
of the giant mountain, and from it at last acquir- 
ing some certainty, regarding the position of Khan- 
Tengi'i and the ramification of the loftiest crests. 

This hope urged us rapidly forward ; but as we 
mounted higher and higher, up to an elevation of 
some 16,400 ft. (5,000 m.), the hard-frozen surface 
gradually gave way under our feet and, hence- 
forth, was formed of snow, which assumed more 
and more a powdery consistency. I have already 
indicated one of the causes of this phenomenon 
{vide pp. 30, 49). The moisture precipitated as snow 
on the extreme heights of the Tian-Shan possesses 
a peculiar crystalline form, and is dry as powder. 
The atmospheric strata of these altitudes are un- 
usually dry, but on snow of this nature they cause 
no appreciable amount of evaporation. Moreover, 
even under the influence of insolation the surface 
layers cannot, owing to the constant circulation of 
the upper atmospheric strata and their low tempera- 
ture,thaw during the day, and consequently cannot 
form a frozen crust at niglit. If anywhere, such 
processes take place on the slopes, facing south and 
west, though even there only to a small extent, but 
as a rule liardly at all on those with a northerly or 
easterly exposure. There, on the contrary, the severe 
night frosts only make the snow all the drier. This 
prevents any congelation, and one sinks a yard deep 
in tiie powdery snow. But when this powdery 


snow lies on a layer of old snow, which by the 
above-mentioned processes has acquired a glacial 
surface in any places, favourable for such a forma- 
tion, or else has been gradually hardened by the 
pressure of the overlying layers, then there is great 
danger of the loose surface layer, when trodden 
upon, breaking away from the steep slope and glid- 
ing with the persons trespassing on it down to the 
bottom. In a few days this was, in fact, verified. 
For us, however, there Avas no imminent analogous 
danger during the ascent ; but we sank at every 
step to the middle, and could no longer find any 
firm footing. All oiu' efforts failed to discover 
a zone of snow in better condition by changing 
the direction of our ascent. 

In order to divide fairly the toilsome labour of 
treading down the snow, we changed the leader 
every ten minutes. Still the strength of the three 
Alpine climbers gradually flagged, and despite the 
most heroic efforts, we no longer made any 
appreciable progress. There were still to be sur- 
mounted over 3,300 ft. (1,000 m.) of absolute 
elcA'ation, which, taking into account the angle 
of the slope and the winding of the way, was 
equivalent to a distanceof over 5,000 ft. (1,500 m.). 
Even if our strength was equal to the task, which 
was not to be thought of in such snow and in 
such extremely rarefied atmosphere higher up, 
night would have overtaken us on the summit. 
And how easily might the weather have clianged, 
so that even then we should have no longer been 
able to make observations. 


The undertaking had to be given up as hopeless. 
Still, it was not quite useless, since the prospect 
ti-oni the elevation attained gave us much supple- 
mentary information. 

The state of my foot obliging me to return to 
headquarters, my place was taken by Herr Keidel, 
and one of the Narynkol Kossacks was summoned 
to carry the large photographic apparatus. The 
party now ascended a summit 15,100 ft. (4,600 m.) 
high on the southern margin of the SemenofF 
glacier, the primary object being to take photo- 
graphs and to obtain bearings for our further 
investigations. From this point Herr Pfann's 
next goal was a mountain, rising on the southern 
margin of the neighbouring JNIushketofF glacier, 
which runs parallel with the SemenofF. The 
assumption — verified a year later — was that from 
the top a decisive view must be had of the valley, 
towering above which, the pyramidal crest of 
Khan-Tengri is always seen. 

As the mountain at least its flank up which the 
ascent was to be made, is not very steep, and 
moreover faces west, all the conditions were 
present for a successful issue. 

At midnight the party of four started from a 
camp 18,450 ft. (4,100 m.) high, situated on the 
left margin of the SemenofF glacier at the junction 
of a broad level secondary glacier valley. They 
traversed its course of about fi\'e miles, and thus 
before daybreak reached tlie foot of a broad low 
ridge, which is crowned with stunted snowy domes 
and separates the SemenofF basin from the upper 


part of the INIushketofF glacier, of which more anon. 
A deep depression about 14,450 ft. (4,400 m.) in 
this valley — which I name the " JNIushketofF pass " 
in honour of the never-to-be-forgotten naturalist, 
MushketofF — was now surmounted. As the surface 
of the MushketofF glacier is here about 500 ft. 
(150 m.) higher than that of the Semenoff glacier, 
but little height was sacrificed in descending to 
reach it. It was crossed from side to side at a point, 
where it is about two miles wide, so that by day- 
break the party reached the foot of the completely 
snow-clad mountain on the opposite margin, which 
was to be ascended, and had an altitude roughly 
estimated at 17,700 ft. (5,300 m.). Scaling over a 
snowy ridge, trending away to the west, they reached 
the shoulder of the mountain and began the ascent 
on the west flank of the actual summit itself All 
went well, and the snow remained firm under the 
feet of the climbers, who w^ere connected together 
by a stout Alpine rope. Towards 11 o'clock in the 
forenoon they found themselves within 300 — 600 ft. 
(100 — 200 m.) of the very top of the mountain. 
Then was heard a sudden crash : a surface layer of 
snow, loosely overlying a substratum of hard snow 
had cracked ; it gave way and slid towards the 
bottom with all four climbers. They all seemed 
lost, when their downward course was fortunately 
arrested by a small snowy ledge projecting some 
650 ft. (200 m.) deeper out of the slope. All four 
were able to work their way uninjured out of the 
sno\\y masses, and nothing had to be regretted, save 
the loss of some hats and ice-axes, which could not 


be recovered. The Kossaek, paralysed by fright, 
completely lost his senses. The three others were 
inconsolable at the failure of the attempt, which 
in Herr Pfann's opinion must have led to the 
discovery of the position of Khan-Tengri ; yet 
another year elapsed, before he was found to be 
right. So near to the wished-for goal had their 
hopes been wrecked. 

And now for me the outcome of all past ex- 
periences was that in the highest regions of the 
Tian-Shan it was perhaps only under quite ex- 
ceptionally favourable conditions that the snow 
can acquire that consistency which permits the 
ascent of peaks, rising above 16,404 ft. (5,000 m.), 
unless indeed it can be made on rocky ground. 
Only the lofty rocky crests are for the most part ex- 
tremely precipitous, and, as appeared from further 
experiences, owing to the influence of excessive 
thermal contrasts, so profoundly shattered that 
the attempt to scale them often encounters un- 
surmountable obstacles. Ascents through rocky 
gorges and couloirs have to be avoided on account 
of the great risks, incurred from falling stones. 
Hence only a very few of the loftiest Tian-Shan 
summits hold out favourable prospects to the 
Alpine climber. 

liearing this in mind during the subsequent 
course of the expedition, I avoided difficult Alpine 
undertakings, and henceforth ascended only such 
mountains as might from their position offer the 
promise of connnanding prospects, affording an 
insiglit into the structure of the mountain range, 


and at the same time seemed accessible to ex- 
perienced Alpinists without exposure to great 

INIeanwhile a period of unfavourable weather had 
set in, and all operations were prevented by daily 
snow-storms. This obliged me to leave the 
Semenoff glacier, the accurate measurement of 
which by triangulation was not carried out till 
the following year. As we had made sure that 
Khan-Tengri does not lie too within the basin of 
the IMushketoff glacier, I decided at once to pene- 
trate into the next great parallel valley, that of 
the Inylchek, and there look for it. 



We moved some twenty-three miles down the Sary- 
jass valley, which soon loses its picturesque aspect. 
Omng to the already mentioned causes, the chain, 
skirting the right bank, shows rounded crests, 
pierced only by a few upland gorges, but no 
glaciers. The left bank still maintains for a 
short distance its high Alpine character. It is dis- 
posed in separate sections by deep transverse valleys, 
harbouring glaciers. These glaciers breaking out 
from the ravines, combined with the glittering 
snows of the peaks enclosing them, form a lovely 
contrast to the deep green of the main valley and 
its slopes, carpeted with Alpine meadows. 

The most important of these tributaries is 
the Adyr-tyr valley, which above its mouth, 
turning in a swift course to the east, flows 
approximately parallel to the SemenofF valley, 
wliich it nearly rivals in length, breadth, and 
wealth of glaciers, and even surpasses in the 
height and grandeur of its mountains. Its upper 
course is filled by a glacier, which IgnatiefF has 
named the MushketofF glacier, of which more 
i'arthcr on. 



The wide green prairies of the Sary-jass, averag- 
ing one mile, but in places broadening out to 
two miles, showing the character of the treeless 
and scrubless upland steppe, display soft rounded 
forms, which are due to the old morainic deposits, 
fringing the scarps of the valley. Such lateral 
moraines on the left side, well preserved in two 
stages, accompany at intervals the upper course of 
the valley. On the right side, even on the plateau- 
like ridges are morainic deposits and debris now 
to be seen, frequently also glacier scorings liigh 
up on the rocky walls. The valley-bed is filled 
with old ground-moraines, covered by marshy 
meadows with small tarns, relics of the large lakes, 
which, being dammed up by terminal moraines, 
formerly filled the basin-shaped expanses. The 
origin of some of these expanses is obviously due to 
the lateral erosion of the river. Another, above 
the Adyr-tyr valley, has been caused by a kind of 
cleavage {Scharung), the ridges receding from each 
other in consequence of some sudden change in 
the strike of the strata. The phenomenon must 
in some way be connected with the already-men- 
tioned {vide p. 42) faults and fractures in the lateral 
valleys. At the mouth of the Adyr-tyr valley, over 
one verst broad, the granite and the phyllitic rocks 
associated with it, disappear below the surface ; 
the limestones of the chain on the left bank 
of the Adyr-tyr valley strike outwards, and form 
farther on in the Sary-jass the southern ramparts, 
whose ridges hence rapidly diminish in height. 
Beyond them the superb glaciated highlands of 


the Kulu-Tau come into view, with an extremely 
bold eminence, towering up as a solitary peak. 
The slates and marbles, present on the right bank 
in flakes are absent on the left bank. 

From a broad gap in the limestone range on 
the left bank some seven miles below the mouth 
of the Adyr-tyr, the copious Tys-ashu river flows 
to the Sary-jass, and drains a much-ramified valley 
region, not shown on the maps. This group 
of valleys lies in a tangle of mountains with a 
north-westerly slope, and is enclosed between the 
high range, forming the left bank of the Adyr- 
tyr valley, trending north-westwards, and the 
chain, stretching south-westwards along the right 
bank of the Inylchek valley. In the obtuse 
angle, formed by the two widely diverging chains, 
lies an extensive plateau-like neve, which is 
gently inclined, and in both chains develops blunt, 
tent-shaped, snowy summits. From the breaks be- 
tween these eminences, sweeping round in a wide 
curve descend flat, trough- shaped ravines, filled with 
nev^, and disposing in radiating sections the broad 
stretches of land, which slope quite gently down to 
the Sary-jass valley. By a lofty plateau ridge, 
" Tur," which has escaped all erosive action, the 
whole system of valleys is disposed in two groups 
— that of the Kusgun-ya valleys, which will be dis- 
cussed farther on, and that of the Tys-ashu valleys. 
Kongul-jol, Achik-tash, Mai-bulak, Tys-ashu I. 
and II. are the names of the more important 
radiating head-channels, which unite in a main 
stream also called Tys-ashu (Tys-ashu means the 


ramifying of a level tract). The tracts of nev^ 
which lie in the broad, shallow upland troughs of 
these valleys are at present separated one from the 
other by considerable masses of morainic refuse, dis- 
posed in ridges. Two only still show conspicuous 
stretches of glaciers, which, however, soon come to 
an end amongst the debris of their ground-moraines. 
From the whole aspect of the land it is seen at 
once that all that now remains of isolated nev^ 
is but the remnant of a once continuous and very 
extensive ice-cap. From these glacial masses was 
developed a huge glacier, which formerly spread 
over the lower parts of the district, and joined the 
at-one-time-mighty Sary-jass glacier. The whole 
of the wide Tys-ashu domain, which is amongst 
the favourite grazing-grounds of the Kirghiz, 
presents a superb morainic landscape of a typical 
character, such as is elsewhere rarely to be seen. 
The rocky Avails, too, are polished to a great height 
by glacial action. Standing later on an elevated 
position, I was able to ascertain that the great 
glacier, to which it owed its existence, was formed 
by the combined glacial masses of the southern 
border-range of the MushketofF glacier and the 
chain, skirting the north side of the Inylchek 
glacier. In the trough-shaped depression of the 
Tys-ashu district the hills are literally buried 
beneath morainic drift, now covered with swampy 
Alpine meadows, so that only in a few places the 
rocks are seen cropping out — limestone disposed in 
narrow folds, stretching northwards, granite, and 
phyllitic schists. 


Just here the cham on the north side of the 
Inylchek valley is greatly depressed, while the 
southern range under the same meridian is up- 
heaved to one of its highest elevations, one of the 
most imposing mountains in the whole Tian-Shan 
system. Hence to a person, standing in the lower 
part of the Tys-ashu valley, and looking upwards 
along the broad, gently rising, trough-like valley, 
the deceptive impression is conveyed that the ex- 
tensive neve at the head of the valley runs straight 
up to the wild and precipitous glacial walls of the 
huge Inylchek peak, which seems to close the 
Tys-ashu valley. What lies between remains 
hidden from the eye of the observer. Evidently 
this impression misled Professor KrassnofF himself 
when, in bad weather too, he penetrated a little 
way into the Tys-ashu valley, named by him the 

He A\Tites {SapisJd, Imp. Russ. Q. G. vol. 
xix. 1888, p. 89): "The third glacier, which is 
not even mentioned by Ignatieff, and is omitted 
even on his map, is the glacier which lies at the 
foot of Tesnyk-basy, perhaps one of the highest 
peaks after Khan-Tengri, and bears, like the peak, 
the name Tesnyk-basy. This glacier with its 
snow-fields is obviously connected with those of the 
Inylchek glacier region. The valley of the Tesnyk- 
basy, the second affluent of the Sary-jass on the 
left, I followed as far as the frontal moraines of 
this glacier, which was evidently but little inferior 
to the Mushketoff glacier. To my regret I was 
prevented by the bad weather," etc. 


In the dividing wall between Tys-ashu and 
Inylchek there occurs an ice-clad pass about 
13,300 ft. (4,050 m.), which, as affording the nearest 
access to the Inylcliek valley, I crossed with the 
caravan, though not without some difficulty. This 
I call the Tys-ashu pass. During the ascent of the 
pass the track lies between limestones and limestone 
schists, which have an east-north-east trend, but 
in the vicinity of the pass, develop folds dipping 
north and with granite cropping out along their 
edge. Owing to its close contact with the granite, 
very little of its great wealth of fossils has been 
preserved by this carboniferous limestone forma- 
tion. Nevertheless, by repeatedly crossing the pass 
we managed later, to collect some that could be 
identified. On the south side of the pass the 
limestones are tinged red, calcined, and greatly 
disintegrated. There also occur conglomerates 
and friction-breccias, indicating the discharge of 
eruptive matter from a spot, which I was later 
able to locate on the north-east side of the pass 
in the neighbouring Kusgun-ya valley. 

Flanking the gate-like entrance of the pass 
there shoot up hundreds of obelisk-like limestone 
crags, into which the masses have been decomposed 
by the marvellous action of erosion. If from 
these strange surroundings we turn to the south 
and east, we see, some 3,300 ft. (1,000 m.) lower 
down, the boulder-strewn floor of the broad trough 
of the Inylchek valley, walled round by many- 
crested snowy ranges, whose crest-line rises with 
an average elevation of over 8,000 ft. (2,500 m.) 



above the valley bottom. The eye also lights 
a little higher up on an ice-field of extraordinary 
extent, similarly bordered and stretching away 
to the east. 

Even though the observer be accustomed to the 
sight of the loftiest eminences on the globe, the 
Himalayas, Karakorum, etc., a feeling of wonder 
and amazement will still be produced by the first 
view of the extraordinarily abrupt southern border- 
range of the Inylchek valley. Here are unfolded 
the mightiest elevations of the Tian-Shan. A 
gigantic range, surmounted by the wildest and 
most rugged snowy peaks of the most diverse 
forms ever sculptured by the creative forces of 
nature, is seen stretching away to the east for a 
distance of some fifty miles, altogether one of 
the grandest Alpine pictures on the globe. Amid 
this proud phalanx the most magnificent is one 
mountain which rises opposite the pass, the 
same that, as already stated, is partly visible 
from the Tys-ashu valley. It is difficult to 
conjure up an adequate picture of the mighty, 
far-reaching spurs of this giant, of the wildness 
of its many fractured crests, the splendour of its 
precipitous glaciers, carved in a thousand varied 
forms and broken into endless fragments. I do 
not hesitate to pronounce this marvellous moun- 
tain mass, some 21,300 ft. (6,500 m.) high, to 
be the grandest in the Tian-Shan. For it an 
appropriate name sliould certainly be found. The 
Central Tian-Shan attains its highest mean altitude 
not, as hitherto supposed, in the southern chain 


of the SemenofF glacier, but in this range, whose 
crest trends away to the east-north-east at an 
average elevation of 18,000 ft. (5,500 m.). From 
this point there is a gradual fall of the mountain 
mass towards the south. To our surprise, however, 
Khan-Tengri, the absolutely highest eminence of 
the Tian-Shan, did not appear in this range, and 
the question of the position of its actual basis 
still remained unsolved. 

Seen from the pass the Inylchek glacier already 
produces a profound impression, although its lower 
section, being for many miles completely covered 
with debris, has not at all the air of an ice-stream, 
and, owing to the windings of its bed, its whole 
course cannot be taken in at a glance. Neverthe- 
less, it struck us all at once that IgnatiefF's estimate 
(eight miles long) fell far short of the reality, 
although the enormous extent of the glacial stream 
was not made fully evident till the next year's 
exploration. The bed of the valley beyond the 
glacier has an extremely slight incline, and 
throughout its upper course, mth an average 
breadth of a mile, it forms a shingly desert, 
completely levelled in by its covering of detritus, 
through which the mighty stream ramifies ir- 
regularly. Despite this distribution of its volume 
the crossing is difficult, as each branch still has 
a deep bed of considerable breadth — in fact, a 
copious and rapid stream. Where these waters 
unite in a single arm, at certain reaches of the 
middle course, the crossing is possible only in the 
early morning. As during the next year I ascended 


the valley through its whole length from its con- 
fluence with the Sary-jass to the Tys-ashu pass, 
and as in the later part of this report I shall 
have to deal with the observations then made, 
I will confine myself for the present to a few 
details of the physical features of the upper 

Here also basin-shaped expanses up to a breadth 
of two miles are met with. Such a tract, some 
thirteen miles below the lower end of the glacier, 
is blocked by a low ridge of limestone schist cliffs, 
forming a barrier, which with a length of nearly 
two miles, stretches obliquely across the bottom of 
the valley, here some two miles wide, so that an 
opening of not more than about 500 ft. (150 m.) 
is left for the outflow of the waters. On the 
extremely disturbed and dislocated rocks of this 
old barrier there still lie the remains of old ground 
moraines. In this valley, too, the old glacial 
deposits acquire quite an extraordinary development. 
On the descent from the Tys-ashu pass we already 
meet with them here and there, 1,000 ft. (300 m.) 
below the level of the pass— that is, 2,000—2,300 ft. 
(GOO — 700 m.) above the bottom of the valley— and 
in hke proportions they are seen along the downward 
course of the valley. Hence nearly all the mouths 
of the transverse \'alleys stand very high above the 
present bed of tlie main valley. Of these transverse 
valleys, however, only a very few occur throughout 
the whole middle and lower course ol this long 
ri\-cr-bcd. Owing to the rapid change of chmate 
after the retreat of the lateral glaciers in the post- 


glacial epoch, erosion had no longer produced any 
great effects in this district, as I have already shown 
by other examples {vide pp. 35, 45). In the Inyeklch 
valley also, as in the other large longitudinal valleys 
and for like reasons that have already been dis- 
cussed, the imposing Alpine character is confined 
to the southern flanking range, at least in the 
ice-free part of the valley. 

In the upper course all vegetation, except a 
rubble flora, is banished from the bed of the 
valley, and confined to the slopes on both sides, 
where, however, it is displayed in the sharpest 
contrasts. The slope on the right bank, facing 
southwards, is treeless and scrubless, and only the 
lower part covered with thin stunted, grassy growths, 
which assume the aspect of meadows only in a 
few tracts, sheltered from intense insolation by the 
disposition of the slope. On the other hand, the 
slope on the left bank, facing northwards, is decked 
with bright Alpine meads, and strangely contrasting 
with the woodless Sary-jass valley, even shows some- 
what dense patches of pines. This is all the more 
remarkable since the Inylchek valley, although 
it has the same trend as the Sary-jass valley, lies 
considerably farther south, and according to my 
meteorological records is distinguished by greater 
dryness of the atmosphere ; while on the other 
hand, in the Sary-jass valley even the slope facing 
southwards is carpeted with lovely Alpine meadows, 
which are missing in the parts of the Inylchek 
valley, enjoying the same aspect. On the contrary, 
on the southern slopes of the Inylchek valley pine- 


groves are met with, wherever the least mountain 
debris has been brought down from the steep 
rocky walls of the valley and deposited in cones at 
the foot of the cliffs, or where morainic drift lies on 
banks and terraces. The discrepancy of these re- 
lations cannot be explained by the nature of the soil, 
since the constituent elements of the mountains are 
of much the same character in both valleys. For 
a distance of about twelve miles on the same 
side of the valley a green zone stretches from 
the end of the glacier tongue along the foot of 
the rocky walls far up in the frigid zone. Short 
Alpine grasses, a rich Alpine flora, and, besides 
other bushy plants, the Caragana shrub (Siberian 
Pea-tree) of dense forest-like growth, form the 
chief components of this pleasant floral zone, which 
extends right up to the region of perennial frosts 
and is associated witli old lateral morainic drift. 

Strange to say, for about the same distance (some 
twelve miles) the glacier is covered across its whole 
average width of about two miles by a mound of 
morainic debris and large boulders at least 450 ft. 
(100 m.) high. By atmospheric influences, by the 
erosion of the waters and by the movement of the 
glacier, this mound has been disposed in ridges and 
peaks of the most diverse forms, valleys, troughs, 
cauldrons — in a word, every form developed by a 
real mountain range. The material for this work 
has for the most part been supplied from the 
slopes of the chains skirting the main valley and 
from those of its ravine-like lateral valleys, which 
along the lower course of the glacial stream are 


free from ice up to a considerable height. Owing 
to the extraordinary fluctuations of the tempera- 
ture in this valley, and its southerly position, 
the disintegration of the rocks has been carried to 
an unusual extent, while the material entering 
into the structure of the mountains, here mainly 
schists, offers but slight resistance to such 
influences. Still, the climatic conditions alone 
could not have caused such great effects, had they 
not been supplemented by the incredible disturb- 
ance of the strata. Here we are in a region of the 
most profound and manifold dislocations, which 
are exposed in many places on both sides in the 
cliffs, skirting the lower course of the glacier. 

That seismic movements, however, have not yet 
ceased in this region was shown by an earthquake, 
which occurred on the morning of August 22nd, 
1902, lasting about half a minute, and making itself 
felt in three very severe shocks, proceeding from 
below upwards. A fearful, never-to-be-forgotten 
spectacle was presented as an immediate result 
of this disturbance on the precipitous glaciers of 
the gigantic mountain above described, at the foot 
of which we had established our headquarters. 
Huge masses of ice were set free, and came 
tumbling down with an indescribable crash into 
the gorges of the huge rocky buttresses, from 
which great coluinns of powdery snow and ice 
then rose up to the level of the sno^vy crests of 
the great mountain. 

The mound of detritus, piled up on the glacier 
is so compact that ice crops out only at the edges, 


so that the ice-stream, although it descends lower 
than the Semenoff, is thus prevented from thawing, 
despite the fact of its penetrating far into a 
southern cHmate. As the melting waters are 
forced to seek an underground outlet beneath 
the overlying drift, they excavate rudimentary 
crevasses at the end of the glacier, scooping them 
into hollows, where the water is then collected. 
On the advent of the warm season the pent-up 
waters seem to occasionally burst their fetters, and 
discharge themselves with irresistible force over 
the plains, carrying with them huge masses of ice. 
Even so late as the end of August in the year 
1902, and at a distance of two miles from the 
glacier, I came upon several blocks of ice as 
big as a house in the boulder-strewn Inylchek 
valley, exposed though it is to such extreme 
insolation. The only explanation I can offer of 
such a phenomenon is that above suggested. 

A visit to the glacier in two successive years 
enabled me to determine the altitude of its lower 
end, at about 10,500 ft. (3,200 m.). There were 
no indications at all of any recent retreat of the 
frozen stream. Its stability is sufficiently ex- 
plained by its enormous development, its slight 
incline — only about eighty feet per verst — and 
compact morainic covering, which itself stands 
in close relation with the slight incline. 

Tliis mound of detritus necessarily makes the 
exploration of the lower section of the glacier 
extremely toilsome and fatiguing. In a day's 
march one can cover only a few miles. Being 


unmindful of this circumstance, and also un- 
prepared for the vast dimensions of the glacier 
from the hitherto published reports of its magni- 
tude, and moreover unaware that at this season 
the valley is not even visited by the nomad 
Kirghiz, I had not brought sufficient supplies 
to meet the wants of the party for eight or ten 
days, the minimum of the time, required for 
profitable work on the glacier. The number of 
porters was also insufficient for such undertakings, 
while these fellows themselves struck work at 
critical moments, and broke out into open revolt 
against me. Under such circumstances I was fain 
to confine myself to a short excursion in the region 
of ice. 

The expedition separated into two parties. 
Herr Keidel descended the valley with a small 
party in order to make a survey of its geological 
structure, and with a view to acquiring some 
knowledge of the local conditions, he pushed on 
to the next large parallel longitudinal valley, the 
KajTidy valley, which lay to the south, but was 
still entirely unknown, and not e\en figured on 
the maps. As I next year explored this valley 
and another, stretching still farther south, informa- 
tion regarding them Avill be found in the later 
parts of this report. 

Herr Pfann and I plodded across the morainic 
mound of the glacier, making very slow progress. 
After covering about two miles, we saw, rising 
behind the heap of drift, a broad, massive rocky wall, 
dark, but capped with neve. IMuch farther on, where 


the ice begins to be free from ddbris, this rampart 
diWdes the A\dde glacial stream into two branches. 
When we got a Uttle higher up, a bright, slender 
pyramid was seen towering into the air, but much 
fiirther back, at the side of the dark mass and 
close to its northern flank. We at once recognised 
it as the summit of Khan-Tengri. Owing to a 
peculiar bend in the axis of the valley and in the 
trend of the range, of which the dark rampart 
evidently forms part, the interesting picture seems 
to the eye shifted in such a way that the observer 
remains uncertain as to the grouping of the 
mountain ranges and the position of the breach, 
from which rises the pyramidal peak. A few 
hundred steps farther, and this peak is no longer 
seen at all. Still, there was great probability that 
it must stand somewhere in the Inylchek valley, 
or in one in some way connected with it. In 
order, tlierefore, to get a better insiglit into these 
relations, we decided to make our way over to 
the left side, bivouac tliere on the edge of the 
glacier, and ascend a lofty summit, rising above 
the border-range. From such an elevation w^e 
hoped to get a clear notion, regarding the trend of 
the ranges along the valley and the position of 
Khfin-Tengri, and to be able also to take telephoto- 
graphic views, since the unfavourable circumstances, 
ah-cady mentioned, prevented us for the present 
from penetrating farther into the mysterious glacial 
region. Leaving the execution of this project to 
Ilcrr Pfaim, I undertook to investigate the com- 
plicated disturbances in the structure of the range ; 


these can be best observed in the fine exposures 
of the steep walls on the right side of the valley. 

However, the extremely crumbling state of 
the schists forming the rocky crest of the mountain 
to be scaled, together with the treacherous con- 
stitution of the upland snow, prevented Herr 
Pfann from reaching the summit. During the 
ascent atmospheric disturbances also set in, so that 
very little remained visible of the mountain ranges, 
A strong atmospheric pressure now prevailed, 
heralding snow-storms. To my deep regret I had 
in all haste to quit the valley, which I had so 
hastily explored, and of which I had seen so little ; 
but there was no option if my retreat over the 
pass was not to be cut off by the snow. Not 
till the next year, when I returned better prepared, 
was I successful in unravelling the mystery of the 
conformation of this valley, on which more details 
will be found in the later parts of this report. 

Here I should like just to draw attention to a 
peculiar phenomenon in the climatic relations of 
the valley. During the five days of my sojourn 
in it, there regularly sprang up in the later hours 
of the afternoon whirlwinds, which carried aloft 
considerable quantities of dust from the ground 
and again deposited them as loess on high-lying 
ledges and little terraces in the walls along the 
margin of the glacier. Extensive banks of this 
aeolian precipitation may be observed, especially 
along the left edge of the glacier. 



On our return from the Tys-ashu to the Sary- 
jass valley Herr Pfann and I left the caravan, 
and ascended the above-mentioned dividing ridge 
between the Kusgun-ya and Tys-ashu groups of 
valleys, the Tur plateau, about 12,300 ft. (3,750 m.). 
Here we saw the pyramidal peak of Khan-Tengri, 
rising above the surrounding ranges far more 
boldly than from any of the other, even higher 
points hitlierto visited. The ranges, however, as 
seen thence, seemed to be shifted in quite a 
peculiar way, so as to give the impression that 
Khan-Tengri rose at the head of a valley with a 
north-easterly trend towards the JNIusart pass, or 
a little to the south of this point, but at its 
origin apparently connected with the head of the 
Inylchck valley. The view was sketched and 
photographed, which took up so much time that 
we had to pay for our exploring zeal by an 
exposed bivouac without shelter or provisions, 
and did not overtake the caravan till the following 
day, after crossing the Kapkak pass, about 
12,150 ft. (3,700 m.), in the valley of the same 



This valley, running some forty-three miles in 
a south to north direction, is amongst the most 
important transverse valleys along the upper 
course of the Tekes. The Kapkak pass lies at 
the converging point of four valleys, as owing to a 
lateral thrust ( Vorwe7''fung) the ranges here diverge 
widely from each other. For this reason the 
Kapkak river, with its large and widely ramifying 
affluents, effects the drainage of a very extensive 
territory. The trip across this charming valley 
ranks amongst the most enjoyable excursions in 
the Tian-Shan. All the elements that combine 
to form a romantic Alpine dale are here repre- 
sented in the greatest profusion. The pine forests 
are magnificent, and contain trees of gigantic size. 
The r" -^velopment of the Alpine flora is, next to 
that of the INIukur-mutu valley, the richest and 
most luxuriant that I have seen in the Tian-Shan, 
while the gro\\i:h of Alpine grasses is astonishing. 
Phyllites, granite, syenite, fossiliferous limestones, 
and calcareous slates form the geological structure, 
which resembles that of the Bayumkol valley, 
but owing to the disturbances, that have here 
taken place, presents in many respects a special 

For the study of the later vicissitudes of many 
Tian-Shan valleys the Kapkak basin offers some 
special features, particularly in its lower course. 
Although at its head neve and ice are at present 
quite insignificant, every indication of complete 
former glaciation may here be observed. In its 
upper course ancient moraines acquired an inmiense 


development, and in its lower course the masses 
of flmioglacial rubble have in some places been 
deeply eroded by the river. Its course, which 
formerly lay more to the east, having been shifted 
by the resistance of such boulder deposits or by 
the ice, the stream has been compelled, in order 
to reach the Tekes, to eat its way through a 
mighty barrier of hard limestone in a steep im- 
penetrable canyon. The waters, formerly dammed 
up by glacial drift, have flooded basin-shaped 
expanses, thus forming lakes. The side- valleys 
which debouch here lie very high. They have been 
eroded in trough-like form, and although formerly 
enclosing small lakes, are now empty, while their 
mouth lies high above the beds of the former lakes 
of the main valley. Reasons for this disposition 
have ah'eady been several times dwelt upon {vide 
pp. 35, 45, 69). Later irruption of considerable bodies 
of running water may be assumed from the circum- 
stance that loose younger conglomerates are found 
deposited, high above tertiary formations, like that 
lying on the borders of the old basin-shaped 
expanses of the Tekes valley. These deposits 
extend in places even beyond the tertiary to the 
limestones. Besides the tertiary beds we also see, 
exactly as in the Tekes valley and at other places, 
great quantities of sand and debris, w^hich are 
derived from disintegrated and eroded granites. 
During the su])sequent course of the expedition I 
visited tlie Kara-kul-say, one of the largest lateral 
valleys of the Kapkak, in which there is still a lake, 
dannned up by old moraines, and in which the 


indications of those, already vanished, are well pre- 
served (see particulars farther on). 

Towards tlie end of August, after my return 
to Narynkol, I lost some valuable days there in 
exchanging the worn-out horses, and especially in 
procuring fresh " Jigits " and porters to replace the 
former, to whose refractory conduct is partly attri- 
butable the fact, that so far the journey had yielded 
such slight results. At last I was able, at the 
beginning of September, to return to the Bayum- 
kol valley to resume the previous operations, inter- 
rupted by bad weather. I hoped to be favoured 
by more settled weather in the advanced season, 
when the contrasts of temperature between the 
plains ^xid uplands are less pronounced. Unfortu- 
nately general atmospheric disturbances took place, 
again seriously impeding and delaying our work. 
For the same reason the intended ascent of one 
of the high snowy peaks at the head of the valley 
had to be put off. The only ascent was that of a 
gi'anite eminence, about 14,450 ft. (4,400 m.), at the 
northern edge of the western glacier, from the top 
of which a panoramic view of the surrounding- 
mountain ranges was obtained. Herr Pfann also, 
despite the unfavourable weather, was able to 
complete the survey of the western glacier, and to 
determine the height of the peaks of the border- 
ranges from an elevated basis. In the course of 
our wanderings in connection with these operations 
I came upon a breach about 14,000 ft. (4,250 m.), 
free from ice, in the ridge, which separates the 
Karakol river, flowing to the Sary-jass (see above) 


from the basin of the western Bajoimkol glacier ; 
and here also 1 obtained a magnificent view of 
Khan-Tengri, appearing through a gap in the 
southern border-range. In this breach 1 found 
five decayed posts, jammed in between rocky 
boulders. At first I supposed they might have 
belonged to the Ignatieff expedition, and that the 
breach in question was identical with the gap, 
which this traveller named the "Narynkol pass," 
and which he states is 13,580 ft. high. After, 
however, again reading the passage in IgnatiefF's 
report {Isvestiya Russ. Geograph. Soc. vol. xxiii.), 
I hesitated as to this assumption, because 
Ignatieff made the descent from the pass down 
to a glacier and traversed it lengthways on horse- 
back, which for the western Bayumkol glacier 
must be pronounced absolutely impossible. Nor 
could Narynkol be reached in one day from this 
glacier, as is asserted by Ignatieff. Lastly, the 
difference between our two determinations of 
height is so great, that these cannot have 
reference to the same position. Hence Ignatieff 
must presumably have crossed at some other point. 
Tlie western Bayumkol glacier is formed by the 
confluence of fiv^e glaciers, issuing from recesses 
in tlie walls enclosing the valley, and is much 
broken up, especially in its middle course, and 
its upper nevd is likewise much crevassed. Here 
it communicates with the Semenoff glacier by 
a snowy saddle a})out 14,4.50 ft. (4,400 m.), which I 
readied the following year from the Semenoff (see 
below), and is also connected with the upper nev^ 


basin of the same SemenofF glacier by the 
SemenofF pass (see above). A connection also 
undoubtedly existed formerly with the Karakol 
glacier, and in the ice age all these glaciers 
evidently formed a continuous ice-field. At pre- 
sent the ridge between Karakol and Bayumkol is 
free from ice on the side (south-east), facing the 
latter valley, and here the sedimentary rocks (lime- 
stone, marble, clay schists) are seen lying finely 
exposed in several strata between the granites. 

Unusually heavy snowfalls at last drove us 
(September 20th) from the uplands, where no 
fodder was any longer procurable for the horses. 
The snow already reached down to the Tekes 
valley, and I was fain to postpone till the next 
year all the explorations in my programme on the 
north side of the highlands, and cross over to the 
south side, wliere more favourable conditions might 
perhaps permit of more protracted operations. 




After a few days' preparatory work, the expedi- 
tion left Narynkol on September 23rd, in order to 
surmount the Great INIusart pass, which had 
ah-eady been traversed by a few Russian ex- 
peditions. Von Kaulbars has pubUshed some notes 
on the topography of the district, and Ignatieff 
on its geology. I shall, therefore, in this report 
limit myself to some hitherto only partially known 
or quite unkno^vTi particulars, reserving for the 
more detailed account of the journey a series of 
physico-geographical observations, for which the 
crossing of this pass afforded ample opportunity. 

The downward route from Narynkol through the 
Tekes valley leads through one of the best-defined 
basins of the old frontal lakes which formerly lay 
at the base of the mountain range. On the 
southern border the outlines of the old terraced 
beaches have been excellently preserved. At the 
wide entrance to the INIusart valley beds of 
fiu\'ioglacial deposit form five ancient terraces, and 
for several miles, follow the course of the valley 
as longitudinal banks, nearly up to the foot of 
the mountain mass. 



Here, in the vicinity of the first Chinese miHtary 
post, where the copious Musart river emerges from 
the highlands, it is joined by its equally copious 
affluent, the Dondukol (on which more below). 
The united stream is not easily crossed, and 
through the carelessness of a " Jigit " during the 
passage, the expedition met with an accident of 
far-reaching consequence. One of the packhorses 
stumbled, and his load — two tin boxes bought 
as " air-tight " — fell into the water. When fished 
out, the contents were found thoroughly saturated. 
Amongst them were a great number of large, 
exposed " Edward films," shut up in tin boxes, 
which were supposed to be " absolutely air-tight." 
Relying on this, we omitted to open them im- 
mediately after the mishap, and when we did so 
later on, it was found that water had penetrated 
through, destroying all the films. Sixty views, 
6^ by 8 English inches in size, mostly panoramas 
and telepanoramas, taken from lofty positions, the 
fruits of indescribable toil and care, the main 
result of the summer's photographic operations, 
geographical documents of priceless value, were 
irreparably lost. By this disaster the course to 
be followed by the expedition in the next year 
was in a way already marked out. Records so 
important for the topography of the Central 
Tian-Shan, could not be dispensed with. It was 
necessary above all to revisit the more conspicuous 
points, from which the lost photographs had been 
taken. However keenly felt tlie damage was at 
the time, still it proved beneficial in the end. 


Being compelled again to retraverse the uplands 
already visited, and being then also more famihar 
with all the local conditions, and moreover favoured 
by good weatlier, I was able in the follov\ing year 
to work better and more successfully than in the 
first summer, and in most cases to find the solution 
of what had hitherto puzzled me in the structure 
of the Central Tian-Shan. 

At the entrance of the Great ^lusart valley 
is seen a vast series of chloritic schists, often inter- 
stratified with phyllitoid schists. Just before emerg- 
ing from the highlands, the river breaks through 
masses of red granite, which are followed higher 
up by a narrow zone of gneiss. But aphanites are 
soon developed over a wide area, and farther up 
the valley, where they again approach a granite 
stratum, they assume more and more the char- 
acter of schists. These schists, with an almost 
northerly strike (N. by 10^ E., which for this region 
is abnormal), have been throM^n into irregular 
narrow folds. Pressure-phenomena occur also in 
the granite, which not infrequently assumes the 
form of granitic gneiss. Limestones and clay- 
slates, cropping out between the granites, have, 
owing to dynamo-metamorphic processes, been 
pressed, the former into schistose, the latter into 
crystalline forms. More regular conditions do not 
appear till far back in the valley, where a normal 
easterly trend (N. by 7° E.) is resumed. Here 
the granite occurs under very diversified forms, 
even as porphyritic granite, and in some parts 
is replaced by syenite. Over ^ somewhat wide 


zone it is followed by gneiss and other crystalline 
schists. Yet the nearer we approach the head of 
the valley the more prevalent become dark, more or 
less crystalline limestones, clay-slates, and marbles, 
from which, as in the other large valleys, are 
exclusively built up the sections of the crests, be- 
longing to the main water-dividing range. Here, 
however, also occur great masses of dolomitised 
limestones, which present the same bold and 
fantastic summits as we are familiar with in the 
dolomitic limestone highlands of South Tyrol, 
and under these forms they flank the defile of 
the Musart pass southwards throughout nearly 
its whole length. 

The Great Musart valley, as far as it lies within 
the highlands, has a length of from thirty-six to 
forty miles, and is distinguished from the other 
large Central Tian-Shan valleys by the somewhat 
steeper incline of its bed (average about ninety to 
ninety-five feet per mile). At the outlet of the 
river from its narrow upland course, about 6,200 ft. 
(1,900 m.) great quantities of fluvio-glacial drift are 
deposited on both sides of the valley, where they 
form terraces {vide p. 28). At the confluence of the 
Dondukol (not Maralta, as it is wrongly called by 
Ignatieff'), which here joins the main stream at an 
obtuse angle, these terraces either intersect or are 
piled up against similar formations deposited by 
this afiluent. Like other Tian-Shan valleys, that 
of the Great Musart is likewise disposed in basin- 
shaped expanses, which are connected by gorge- like 
narrows. These narrow^s are for the most part 


choked by old moraine deposits, through which the 
river has everywhere cut itself deep channels, which, 
liowever, rarely reach down to the bed-rock. In 
the basin-shaped expanses the moraine debris is 
found deposited for the most part on the left bank 
in step-like terraces, rising one above the other. 
During the ascent the traveller wanders along 
tne picturesque valley on the slopes of the left 
bank, decked with magnificent pine groves, 
especially in the middle course, exclusively over 
Alpine meads and forest-bearing old morainic 
soil. In several places the old terminal moraines 
are of enormous dimensions. At the confluence 
of the Khamer-davan, about 7,900 ft. (2,400 m.), 
of which more farther on, lies the largest of these 
beds, which has a width of nearly two miles and 
forms a huge mound in the valley. Another 
nearly as large lies about seven miles higher up, 
at an altitude of some 8,400 ft. (2,600 m.), and 
still maintains a height of 250 ft. above the level 
of the \alley. The morainic drift is conspicuous 
to a considerable height on the walls of the valley, 
while ice-worn rocks and i^oches moutonnes may 
be observed on the face of the cliffs. Here also, 
besides several deeply eroded lateral valleys of 
ancient origin— Dondukol, Khamer-davan, Atun- 
bulak, etc. — one can distinguish a series of high- 
lying trougli-shaped, younger valleys with cirques 
at their licads, and tlie mouths of which are raised 
higli above the present bed of the main stream, 
thus indicating the former level of the chief glacier, 
\\ liicii once filled up the whole valley. They still 


retain small glaciers. A peculiar phenomenon 
in this wind-sheltered valley is the deposit of 
loess-like beds of considerable thickness (fifty to 
sixty feet) on old morainic terraces. They appear 
to be formations of fluvial origin, although showing 
a resemblance to aerial loess. About half-way up 
the valley there occur hot springs (48° C), near 
which the Kalmuks have built some primitive 
huts, while utilising them as medical baths. They 
well up in the valley-bed at the level of about 
8,400 ft (2,550 m.), in the zone, where crystalUne 
schists and granites come in contact with greatly 
disturbed limestones. 

At the point where the valley-bed describes a 
semicircular curve of short radius towards the 
east, the range on the right bank, apparently 
shutting in the valley, rises to a series of bold 
lofty peaks, about 18,000 ft. (5,500 m.), which, 
owing to their northerly exposure, tower with 
their fronts completely enveloped in snow and 
ice, superbly above a darkly-wooded old moraine. 
At their foot the wildest of the big glacial streams, 
that I have seen in the Tian-Shan, bursts out from 
a lateral valley, coming from the east, and is dis- 
solved into a series of wonderful cataracts, with 
thousand-fold scracs. This glacier on reaching the 
bottom of the main Aalley turns northwards, and 
ends at a height of 9,000 ft. (2,750 m.), a httle 
above the third Chinese post, where it is separated 
from the main stream by a huge lateral moraine, 
which it has here deposited. Judging from the 
height of this morainic ridge (up to 200 ft), from the 


immense size of the boulders, consisting exclusively 
of light dolomitic limestone and marble, and from 
the great thickness of the ice at its tongue, this 
still unexplored glacial stream must be of gi'eat 
length. Beyond doubt it has its source at the 
dividing ridge, by which the head of one of the 
upper affluents of the Agiass, which flows north 
to the Tekes, is separated from the Musart valley. 
From there also — that is to say, from the main 
crest of the Khalyk-Tau in the east — stretch the 
dolomitic limestones and marbles, composing the 
above-mentioned lofty snowy peaks, and abutting 
here on the granites and gneisses. The protection, 
afforded by this rampart with its northerly 
face, has secured an exceptionally mild climate 
to the part of the valley, lying behind, despite 
its great elevation (9,200 ft. ; 2,800 m.) The 
result is seen in a wonderfully beautiful bush 
and forest vegetation, ranging right up to the 
glacier ice. 

The INIusart pass is a "wall-pass," whose ir- 
regular flat top has an extent of over ten miles. 
From the north side, the ascent, which starts from 
tlie elevated terraces at the head of the northern 
Musart valley (about 9,500 ft. ; 2,900 m.), is short 
and steep up to the plateau ; the descent to the 
south, down to the 'J'amga-tash post (about 9,050 ft. ; 
2,700 ni.) is long and gradual, excepting a few 
steep steps, so tliat the two sections are unlike. 
An anomaly is seen in the fact that the glacier 
on the nortli is short, while that on the south 
side is very extensive. The Yalin-Klianzyn glacier, 


descending northwards, is now merely an insignifi- 
cant remnant of a formerly extensive ice-stream. 
It terminates at a level of about 10,200 ft. 
(3,100 m.), and is almost entirely covered with 
detritus, so that a little ice is visible only at the 
confluences of small lateral glaciers. The watershed 
between it and the Jiparlik glacier, descending 
southwards, is almost obliterated. Owing mainly 
to the very shifting accumulations of morainic drift, 
it is difficult to determine the culminating point 
of the pass. We considered this to coincide with 
a small plateau, whose altitude was calculated by 
a preliminary survey at about 11,480 ft. (3,500 m.). 
Ignatieffs figure is 12,240 ft. (3,730 m.). 

Near the top of the pass on its southern slope 
the mighty Jiparhk glacier descends from the east- 
north-east. The glacial stream where it covers 
the highest plateau of the pass is nearly free from 
debris, and over a slightly inclined stretch of 
several versts the surface ice is divided into millions 
of tiny, tent-shaped knolls, the origin of which is to 
be attributed to peculiar melting processes. As far 
as the eye can penetrate up the course of the glacier, 
from 300 tO 400 m. or about 1,200 ft. broad, high 
snowy mountains (limestone and marble) are visible 
along its margins. But owing to a bend in the 
valley the source itself cannot be seen. It seems 
to He in the same dividing ridge as the already 
mentioned large glacier, which joins at the bend 
of the main stream. Near its outlet on the 
plateau of the pass, an arm of the chief glacier, 
branching off to the south-west, stretches obhquely 


across the plateau, and disappears in an opening 
facing the south-west in the wall of the west 
margm. The main glacier itself trends, with an 
average breadth of one and a half miles, first 
south-eastwards, then southwards, and terminates 
at a height of about 9,500 ft. (2,900 m.) in a 
tongue (now rapidly retreating) above the Tamga- 
tash post. Here a waterfall bursts out through 
a gate-like aperture in the ice-wall. At the time 
of my visit, above the lowest cavity were still to 
be seen two other, quite similar but empty cave- 
like outlets, standing one above the other in the 
terminal wall of the glacier. Hence the stream 
had evidently cut its bed deeper and deeper in the 
ice. Its waters had once been dammed up in 
a morainic lake about two miles long and one 
mile wide in front of the glacier. As far as the 
glacier covers the plateau of the pass on its gently 
inclined southern slope, the ice is almost hidden by 
a coating of debris ; where it shows itself it is beset 
with a very large number of funnels, in each of 
which lie one or more large boulders, whose great 
absorption of heat gave rise to these hollows. On 
the rocky enclosing walls, over 3,300 ft. (1,000 m.) 
liigh, tlie traces may everywhere be noticed of the 
grinding force of the glacier ice, indicating how it 
formerly completely filled the upland valley. On 
the left bank, at the foot of an ice-polished marble 
wall 1,300 ft. (400 m.) high, the ruins of a mazar 
and of the Mazar-bashi post stand on a rocky, gently 
inclined terrace. At this point, where a lateral 
glacier debouches, the main glacier breaks with a 


fall of about 350 ft. to a lower terrace, where its 
glacial masses are dissolved in wild seracs, horns, 
and pinnacles, separated by yawning chasms. This 
is the famous passage which has been a terror for 
hundreds of years, and cannot be surmounted by 
the caravans without the aid of the guards at the 
Tamga-tash post, who have excavated regular stair- 
cases in the icy pinnacles. But the skeletons of 
pack-animals, strewn about in large numbers, show 
how great are the perils of the passage, despite all aid. 
Nevertheless, this pass is still relatively the easiest 
for communication between the north and south 
sides. A caravan, floundering amid this maze of icy 
turrets presents a strange spectacle. At the foot 
of the succeeding glacial terrace an extensive lake 
occupies a hollow in the ice near the left bank. 
The whole length of the Jiparlik glacier cannot 
be estimated at less than sixteen miles. 

It has already been pointed out that dolomite 
Hmestone, carved into exceptionally bold peaks, 
together with white marble, forms the prevailing 
constituent of the ramparts, flanking the JNIusart 
pass. These light-coloured masses stand in sharp 
contrast with the dark jagged walls of highly meta- 
morphosed eruptive rocks, which uninterruptedly 
accompany the metamorphic sedimentary beds 
from the head of the defile in the north down 
to its southern end and far beyond it, both sets 
of strata sharing in the later contortion, of which 
extraordinary instances are here and there grandly 
exposed. Owing to the prevalence of a north- 
easterly trend with a marked incline to the east, 


gneiss and syenite are noticed only on the north 
side of the pass. 

The route through the southern JNIusart valley, 
which has a length of about sixty miles, with a 
breadth of from one to two miles, presents great 
interest in two respects. In the first place, there 
are the tremendous dislocations, to which not only 
the igneous rocks (gneiss, granite, syenite), but also 
the sedimentary formations, have all been sub- 
jected, and then the great masses of eruptive rock 
(diorite, porphyrite) which have burst through 
both series. A more careful study of the con- 
ditions observed will be needed, before it can be 
decided whether the disturbances were in the first 
instance caused by the intrusive igneous rocks, and 
hence were to a certain extent local, or whether 
the whole massfif was affected by wide-ranging 
convulsions, followed or accompanied by the in- 
trusion of the magma in the chasms thus formed. 
Here, too, as is so often the case, the zone of 
contact awakens the deepest interest. Extensive 
metamorphic plienomena are seen, not only in 
the contact zone of the erupted matter with the 
sedimentary and old crystalline rocks, but also 
wlicrc tlicse two are found associated together. 
During our second visit to the valley, Herr 
Keidel made a complete collection of specimens 
from the contact zones. 

In the soutlicrn JNIusart valley granite, syenite, 
gneiss, etc., occur, only at greater distances from 
the central ranges than in any of the northern 
and soiillicni transverse valleys, visited by me — that 


is, only in the outer section of the valley, up to 
where sedimentary rocks alone enter into the 
structure of the highlands. Gneisses are far more 
extensively developed than had hitlierto been sup- 
posed. Between the Khailik-IMabuse and Tograk 
posts they form an uninterrupted zone three miles 
long, sharply limited at both ends. Chloritic and 
highly metamorphosed schists are interstratified 
with granites. The limestones too, occuring 
here, became more or less crystalline. The walls 
of the ranges, running obliquely to the trend of 
the valley, often perpendicularly cut to a height of 
4,900 ft. (1,500 m.) and more, show in their strata 
the most remarkable and diversified bendings, 
crumplings, and foldings of the vertically disposed 
sedimentary beds even dowii to the minutest 
wrinkles, with exposures on the grandest scale, and 
always most pronounced in the neighbourhood of 
intruding dioritic rocks. In some places the 
intrusion of the magma is in dykes, accompanied 
by extensive apophysic formations. Despite the 
dynamic effects, accompanying the powerful dis- 
location of the sedimentary beds, Herr Keidel 
succeeded in finding a limestone bed that had 
been spared, and in it collected a fauna belonging 
to the upper carboniferous age. This justifies the 
conclusion that these limestones of the middle and 
lower valley, and the crystalline masses between 
which they rest, are from a tectonic point of view 
to be separated from the older pala30zoic lime- 
stones of the head of the valley and from the 
metamorphic eruptive rocks, folded together with 


them. Old crystalline conglomerates begin to 
occur in the second section of the valley, but do 
not appear in larger masses till near its outlet, 
Avhere they are associated with sandstones and 
metamorphic schists between the lateral Ak-topa 
and INloro^khotan valleys. Exposures in walls 
1^300 — 1,600 ft. (400 — 500 m.) high also reveal 
in these conglomerates extraordinary strains and 
twists in the strata. The great pressure is attested 
by blocks of conglomerate, which are streA\Ti 
about, and whose constituents have been crushed 
out lengthwise. These conglomerates also form the 
slope of the range, facing the valley of the Musart- 
daria, flowmg to the east, of which more farther 
on. A few miles beyond, where we struck south 
from the JNIusart, sandstones again occur on the 
slope of the range facing the steppe at the mouth 
of the Kash-bulak valley. These are compressed 
in close folds together with coarse, schistose- 
calcareous and fine conglomerates like grauwacke, 
and in places contain fractured, laminated, shiny 
carboniferous clay slates {Lettenkohlenschiefer), 
elsewhere even real anthracite. 

No less interesting than the peculiar geological 
features of the Musart valley are the indications 
of its former extensi\'e glaciation. If in this valley, 
trending southwards, the old morainic deposits are 
seen in much larger quantities and less destroyed 
than in the great glacial valleys on the north side, 
the ex})Ianation, as already rightly suggested by 
Ignaticff, is tliat in the north, owing to the very 
extensive glaciation, wliich to a considerable extent 


even now continues, the old masses of boulder drift 
were for a long period, and are to the present day, 
exposed to the vigorous erosive action of the melt- 
ing waters. Here in the south, on the contrary, 
where the present glaciation is relatively shght, 
the cHmate much dryer, and in any case, even 
in the post-glacial period, was subjected to more 
rapid changes than in the north, the destructive 
and obliterating forces were less effective in the 
interior of the valleys. 

Here we see first of all that in some places the 
valley was blocked by old frontal moraines, and 
elsewhere by the accumulation of diluvial deposits 
at natural constrictions, forming six basin-like 
expanses, which represent so many former lakes. 
In the second basin, morainic drift lies on high 
terraces, from 1,000 to 1,300 ft. (300—400 m.) 
above the level of the valley, while scorings on 
the surface of the rocky walls here, as farther 
out in the valley, extend considerably higher 
up. In some places, as in the fourth basin, the 
foot of the mountain barrier is Uterally buried 
in morainic drift up to a considerable height, 
and this debris forms, for a distance of one and 
a half miles, a compact covering of the broad 
channel of the valley still over 200 ft. thick, 
although much of it has afready been swept 
away. There, dry weathering has reduced the 
boulders (marbles, limestones) to sand and dust, 
above which the still remaining blocks partly 
project. By these products of weathering a long 
stretch of the valley has been transformed to a 


real sandy desert, whose dune-like eminences are 
bound together by plants of genuine desert type. 
The finer particles have been borne aloft and 
deposited as loess on elevated terraces, where they 
often attain a thickness of from forty to fifty feet. 
At the Khaihk-Mabuse camping-ground, about 
8,130 ft. (2,480 m.), old morainic drift rises some 
1,300 ft. (400 m.) above the level of the valley. 
But the greatest accumulations are found in the 
neighbourhood of the Tograk post, about 7,700 
ft. (2,350 m.), where exceptionally large masses 
of drift have been deposited by the Tograk- 
Yailak, which joins on the right bank. These 
were heaped up on those of the chief glacier, 
whereby the detritus was raised to the enormous 
height of from 1,C00 to 2,000 ft. (500—600 m.) 
against the opposite mountain wall. Here the 
valley is blocked by a barrier of morainic debris 
some 650 ft. (200 m.) high, through which the 
river cuts its way in a romantic gorge several 
miles long. While on the moraines, so far 
described, the boulders consist of marble and 
limestone, here scarcely any but gneiss blocks 
are seen, which aeolic excavation (corrugation) 
has fashioned into thousands of fantastic forms. 
Below Tograk tlie lateral Jin-Jilga valley joins on 
the left side, and from the confluence the gigantic 
ground-moraine of the old glacier projects in ex- 
cellently preserved form far into the main a alley. 
The immense masses of shifted debris, however, 
cannot be derived from this lateral glacier alone, 
since they extend as a rampart a distance of six 


to eight miles downward from 130 to 160 ft. 
above the level of the river, which has cut its 
bed deeply into them. The conformation of the 
mountain range here indicates rather that the 
gigantic glacier, which has deposited all this 
detritus, once overflowing the left, here greatly 
depressed, scarp of the valley, descended from 
more elevated parts of the Khalyk-Tau in the 
east. At the last post also (Koneshar, not 
Kunya-Shar, as it is called in the forty-verst 
map) the main valley, about 6,900 ft. (2,100 m.), 
was blocked by morainic drift, which on the left 
side envelops the mountain walls some distance up. 
That the old glaciers also extended out into 
the plain is shown, not only by the morainic 
mounds, which lie at the foot of the range, where 
it bends towards the east, and which were crossed 
the next year by the expedition on the route along 
the Khalyk-Tau (on this see below), but also by 
the enormous deposits of shifted glacial drift, 
including boulders, which to a thickness of several 
hundred feet still extend for over twenty miles 
out into the plain, here partly forming closed 
plateaux, partly disposed by erosion in little ridges 
of manifold shape. I must here lay stress on the 
fact that these last-mentioned deposits differ in 
some essential features from those formations 
for which INI. Bogdanovich has introduced the 
term " Kuren " ( Trudi Tibetskoi Eccpedizii, p. 88 
et seq.). These masses have been preserved in a 
region, where erosion, dispersion, and denudation 
have operated more vigorously than in most other 



lands. Granite boulders I found strewn over 
the desert more than twenty-six miles distant 
from the foot of the mountains. 

The lateral valleys of the southern Musart 
valley, whose parched soil is traversed by a 
potent stream from which it no longer derives 
any appreciable fertility, still contain a con- 
siderable store of glacier ice, where rise lofty 
and magnificently glaciated ranges, the most 
superb and richest in glaciers being in the 
Turpal-che valley, in the cirque-like Chiran-toka 
valley, in the Serakh-su valley, Tograk-Yailak, 
etc. Into these valleys the pinewoods also have 
retreated from the almost dried-up main valley, 
and where they appear, present the finest contrast 
to the desert character of the main valley. In 
this we see one of the most remarkable upland 
valleys, remodelled by tectonic movements, and 
the action of ice, water, and wind, a juxtaposition 
of steppe and desert amid grandiose Alpine sur- 
roundings. Many other physical features would 
have still to be dwelt upon to complete the 
picture. But this would exceed the limits of this 
preliminary report. 



Our intention to continue our work a little longer 
in the liighlands of the great lateral valleys of 
the southern Musart river could not be carried 
out, as the valley offered no supplies, either for our 
men or the pack-animals. Hence the expedition 
could only be regularly provisioned from a station, 
lying far beyond the district, but for the organisa- 
tion of such supplies there was no longer time 
at this advanced season of the year. The plan 
was therefore postponed to the spring of the 
next year, and we took the route, which leads out 
of the valley to the town of Ak-su, and then 
for a stretch of about twelve miles, intersects 
the ranges of the Topa-davan tertiary uplands 
between the Lyangar and Abad posts. 

As I am not aware of anything, having yet been 
published on these uplands or altogether on the 
tertiary formations at the southern foot of this sec- 
tion of the Tian-Shan, I may here give some details 
on the subject. In the structure of the Topa- 
davan range the same red sandstones are ex- 
hibited, that we meet with in the tertiary of 
the Tekes plain and elsewhere, besides red, salt- 
bearing clays and marls, with gypsum-bearing 



marls in some places, and lastly conglomerates 
of liffht and dark limestones. The whole massif 
has a general west-north-west trend, and in some 
places is distinguislied by narrow intricate foldings. 
Althouoh the mountains are in summer and 
autumn waterless, they have been carved into 
several ranges by the powerful erosion of running 
water, setting in with the melting of the snows 
and acting all the more vigorously on the 
mountain mass since it is built up of easily soluble 
materials, aided also by atmospheric influences, 
especially wind. The action of all these agencies 
is helped by the narrow foldings and the vertical 
disposition of the strata. By such forces these 
ranges have again been sculptured into a number 
of the most diversified crests, often affecting the 
most fantastic forms. 

In these clay and marly uplands we again find, 
crowded together in a narrow, readily OAcrlooked 
space, the same varied features in valley and 
hollow, the same manifold conformation of 
mountain and surface as are presented by the 
higli ranges in wide inaccessible areas, of which 
we can obtain no comprehensive view. Many 
of the processes that there took place in a large 
way, have here been repeated on a small scale. 
In a word, the mountain-shaping and mountain- 
destroying forces have combined to produce a 
relief, which offers an instructive object-lesson 
on or()graj)iiic structure, so far as regards the 
diversified character of tlie surface modelling. I 
later explored tlie tertiary highlands west, north, 


and north-east of Kashgar, which are built up of 
similar materials, and also surveyed the Chul-Tau, 
a southern prolongation of the Topa-davan (on 
which subjects more will be found farther on) ; 
but however varied may be the articulation of 
the surface in some parts of those districts, it 
nowhere displayed such varied features as the 
Topa-davan. Its average altitude, rising gi'adually 
from east to west, is 5,250 ft. (1,600 m.). While 
the first foothills only reach a height of from 100 to 
130 ft. above the almost table-like level surface of 
accumulated rubble, those approaching the south- 
west border rise to over 650 ft. (200 m.) above 
it. Here we are often surprised at the sight 
of perpendicular mountain walls, about 500 ft. 
(150 m.) high, which are formed of a single layer 
of clay, honey-combed like a sieve by the decom- 
position of easily soluble inclusions. 

At the A bad post, about 5,100 ft. (1,550 m.), near 
the south-western border, there occurs a tortion of 
the axis, combined with a change in the trend — the 
ridges of the Chadan-Tau, which run from south- 
west to north-east, here converging with those 
of the Topa-davan, which run west-north-west. 
AA^ith this change are connected serious dis- 
turbances in the lie of the strata. Salt occurs 
especially on the south-west border in troughs and 
cavities in the form of efflorescences, which acquire 
a thickness of up to twenty inches, and are ex- 
ploited by the Chinese. The mountains appear to 
terminate abruptly towards the desert, because the 
low ridges of the outer folds are completely buried 


beneath a mass of detritus, several hundred feet 

The road from Abad through Jam to Ak-su 
may be passed over as well known. I also 
omit any remarks on the long stretch from Ak-su 
through Maral-bashi to Kashgar, although offering 
occasion for many interesting observations, since 
it has already been to some extent described by 
other travellers, as, for instance, most recently 
by Sven Hedin. 

On October 18th, 1902, the expedition took up 
its winter quarters in Kashgar, from which place 
Herr Pfann and the preparator, Herr Russel, set 
out on the homeward journey. As the southern 
border-ranges of the Tian-Shan often remain free 
from snow even in winter, as was particularly 
the case in the winter of 1902-03, we ultilised 
this season, despite the intense cold, to make 
some excursions to that region, chiefly for the 
purpose of collecting palaeontological specimens. 
This object was also effected, thanks to the 
collecting zeal of Herr Keidel, and we returned 
to Kashgar loaded with rich spoils. 



The first excursion led us to the Toyun valley, at 
first through the narrow gorges of the " Artysh 
strata" — made known by the publications of 
Stoliczka and Bogdanovich, — which attain so great 
a development at the southern foot of the Tian- 
Shan. Amid these profoundly disturbed strata lies 
a group of large villages which bear the collective 
name of Artysh. 

In August 1902, not long before our arrival, 
earthquakes had almost utterly ruined both this 
and the other group, collectively known as Altyn- 
Artysh, which lies farther east on the southern 
border of the tertiary range, and was likewise 
visited by us. These places, now lying in ruins, 
presented a sad spectacle. For a wide space the 
ground was seen torn by rents and fissures, and 
in some places little mud volcanoes were noticed. 
In connection with these events the study of the 
" Artysh strata," as they are called, was of special 
interest to us. Later conglomerates, discordantly 
overlying these marly-clay and sandstone strata 
likewise exhibit indications of considerable dis- 
location. Even in very recent conglomerates, 



dislocations Avere observed by us in several 
districts, especially in the Kummduk valley, lying 
to the east of Altyn-Artysh. There can be no 
doubt that the seismic movements appearing in the 
upfolding of the Artysh strata, which are referred by 
BogdanoA'ich to the pliocene epoch, were continued 
in later formations, and persist to the present day 
(more on this in the detailed report). In the 
district, already mentioned, such movements led 
to the almost complete destruction of from ten 
to twelve populous villages which, standing on 
well-watered loess terraces, occupy the richest 
and most productive tracts in the neighbourhood 
of Kashgar. The epicentrum of the seismic 
forces nearly coincides with Artysh-bazar, and 
the destructive effects of the earthquake waves, 
radiating from this point, made themselves felt 
even in the city of Kashgar and its environs. We 
were able to follow these movements, somewhat 
weakened but still very destructive, over a wide 
area, up the Toyun valley, in the JVIaydan-Gess 
valley, fartlier east in the Kurumduk valley, and 
later even still farther east. 

During our stay in Kashgar, more or less 
violent and destructive underground shocks were 
of such daily occurrence that one grew accustomed 
to them. 

In the Toyun valley Devonian fossils were 
found, partly in the places already visited by 
StoHczka and Bogdanovich, north of the Chou 
Tcrck grazing ground (not village), jmrtly in other 
districts. On the whole, however, the finds were 


not great, although we pushed northwards far be- 
yond Yakub Beg's old fortified post of Chakmak. 
On the other hand, we ascertained the presence of 
erupted basaltic rocks in the zone of the most 
violent dislocations, in the schists and also in the 
sandstones, which are embedded in them, and 
are, by Bogdanovich, referred to the tertiary 
epoch, all at a considerable distance to the south 
of the localities, where they had been found by 
Bogdanovich (Suyok valley) and by Stoliczka 
(Chakmak) ; for further details see below. 

During the following excursion our collecting 
work was more fruitful. The route led by 
Altyn-Artysh northwards, up the vast tertiary 
basin of Argu, which was formerly flooded by a 
lake and still shows well-preserved terraces. It 
was approached through a narrow portal cut into 
a rampart of conglomerate 650 ft. (200 m.) high, 
and was quitted by a similar outlet, leading into 
the Tangitar ravine, by which are reached the 
basin-shaped expanses of the former large lakes 
Tegermen and Arkogak, which follow from west 
to east, one a stage higher than the other. 
StoUczka found some fossils north of Yakub 
Beg's barrier fort of Tangitar, consequently north 
of the gorge through which the river forces its 
way. The places where we made our great finds 
lie, some a little to the west of the old fort, 
some south of it. The fauna is probably partly 
Devonian, partly carboniferous. 

Most surprising is the thickness of the con- 
glomerates immediately before and beyond the 


place, where the Tangitar river breaks through 
the carboniferous limestones in a romantic gorge 
from fifty to sixty-five feet ^^dde, which winds for 
some two and a half miles between almost vertical 
walls, and escapes to the rocky Tangitar cirque. 
Although partly worn away, the conglomerates, in 
which are often embedded huge boulders, here rise 
in places up to 1,150 ft. (350 m.) above the level 
of the valley on the limestone walls, and project, 
as mighty buttresses far into the plain. Beyond 
the gorge, ancient valley terraces {Ldngssttifen) are 
seen in these conglomerates, which are over-lain 
by loess to a considerable thickness. 

In the vast Tegermen basin, where no water 

now flows, except a narrow rivulet, deposits of 

shingle are of such enormous thickness that they 

partly hide the foot-ranges of the mountains, to 

such an extent that only a few of their cones and 

domes rise like islands above the overlying drift. 

In the left scarp of the basin Herr Keidel 

found upper carboniferous brachiopods, and in 

a narrow gorge Devonian corals. The bed of 

the extensive Arkogak basin, formed by level 

accumulations of rubble, is reached by a breach 

in the low range and over a broad sill of the 

soil. We followed the second basin a long way 

in a north-easterly direction. By a lateral valley, 

branching off to the east and draining indirectly 

to the Kurumduk river, access is gained to the 

extensive Bash-Sugun pastures of the Kirghiz. 

A bed of coarse, white limestone, containing a 

mass of excellently preserved fossils, was found 


in the limestones of the ramparts, enclosing the 
Sugim valley, which are of very diversified 
character and exhibit complex stratified con- 
ditions. Here we were able to obtain a rich upper- 
carboniferous fauna of brachiopods, representing 
about fifty species in several hundred specimens. 
Bash-Sugun was already known from the fossils 
found by Stoliczka (E. Suess, Contyibutions to 
the Stratigraphy of Cenf?ril Asia). But whether 
the locality, exploited by us, is identical with 
Stoliczka's seems doubtful when we consider 
that this explorer found only a few, apparently 
lower-carboniferous fossils in this place, whereas 
such an accumulation of organic remains as occurs 
at our " storehouse " could scarcely have escaped 
the trained eye of the distinguished naturalist. 

On the further journey to the south-east through 
the Sugun valley, which here contracts and forms 
a series of small, cauldron-shaped expanses con- 
nected only by narrow passages, we noticed ex- 
tensive intrusions of basaltic rocks in the form of 
domes, but also in dykes. Shattering breccias and 
conglomerates also occur, while the surrounding 
Hmestones have been greatly metamorphosed. 
The outbreak of basaltic rocks, ascertained by us 
as occurring in this region, as well as in various 
localities on the extreme southern border of 
the Tian-Shan, show that their intrusion is not 
confined to the line of fault, assumed by Bogda- 
novich to exist on the northern slope of the 
Kok-tan range {Trudu, etc. p. 72). Such basalts 
were found by us not only at the already- 


mentioned places in the Toyun valley (see p. 105), 
but also in the farthest off-shoots of the mountains 
at Tafifh-Tumshuk, not far from IMaral-bashi. 

Through a breach, a hundred feet wide, the 
Sugun river continues its easterly course and 
debouches to a spacious valley, about two miles 
broad, which in its turn again trending to the south- 
east, falls into the Kurumduk river. It should be 
noticed that the delineation of this region on all 
the maps known to me, especially the hydrographic 
system between the plateau of Tegermen and the 
Sugun district, and the continuation of this river 
system through the Kurumduk and right out into 
the Kaldy-Yailak plain, does not even remotely 
correspond with the actual facts. From Ayak- 
Sugun, which lies at the confluence of the already- 
mentioned lateral valley with the Kurumduk, we 
made our way to Sugun-Karaul. The route 
from the Kurumduk valley (which was itself 
traversed only for a short distance) to the plateau 
at the southern foot of the mountains, leads for 
o\'er sixteen miles through narrow winding defiles 
across that section of the tertiary highlands, con- 
sisting of soft clays and marls, which have been 
subjected to the most profound shiftings of level. 
Owing to tliis fact it has been shattered, and, for 
the most part, buried beneath its own debris to 
an extent tliat has elsewhere been rarely observed. 
He fore the marls lies a thick zone of very fine, hard 
conglomerates, whicli extend for two miles into 
the desolate, high Kaldy-Yailak plain. 

1 was now obhgcd, during the prevalence of the 


severest winter weather, to undertake the long and 
difficult journey to Tashkent. Here I had to 
procure the instruments and photographic materials, 
long before ordered in Europe, to complete our 
equipment, and also to direct a second Alpine 
guide by telegraph from his home to Kashgar, 
where there is no telegraphic communication with 
Europe or even Turkestan and only a very defec- 
tive and tedious postal service. I took the route 
over the Terek-davan (Irkishtam — 23° C, Kok-su 
— 28° C). As this route has already been several 
times described, and most recently by Futterer 
{Through Asia), I may here pass over the observa- 
tions that I made on my journey, though they 
present many points of interest. 

During my absence Herr Keidel occupied him- 
self with the investigation of the loess deposits 
in the Kashgar-daria valley, and also made an 
excursion to the southern border of the Kashgar 
basin. The way led through Boruk-tai to Tash- 
malik ; a rich fossil fauna was discovered south- 
west of this place. From Tash-malik Herr Keidel 
went on to the Gess valley, which he followed 
up to Ak-chiu, where he made a collection of 
fossil plants of the Angara series in the coal-beds, 
worked in a primitive fashion by the Kirghiz. 
The return journey was made through Eski and 
Yangi-Hissar. A second excursion to Bash- 
Sugun, undertaken towards the end of February, 
had for its object the completion of the geological 
collection by a study of other levels in the local 
limestones. In the finds here made, various stages 


of the carboniferous age are represented. Some 
specimens of the species of the Bash-Sugun fauna 
found tlieir way to Calcutta, where they were 
recognised in the Geological Survey Office of 
India as corresponding with the Productus Lime- 
stones of the Punjab Salt-range. 



At the beginning of March I was back in Kashgar 
from Tashkent, where, through the kindness of 
His Excellency the Governor-General, two valiant 
young Kossacks were placed at my disposal as es- 
corts. At last, after much trouble, diverse bad 
incidents and unpleasant delays, the new Alpine 
guide, Sigmund Stockmayer of Neukirchen in 
Pinzgau (Salzburg), arrived with a portion of the 
instruments and materials that had been ordered. 
After completing all the other troublesome pre- 
parations, the hitherto very cold weather ha^dng 
also become a little milder, a start was at last 
made on April 14th, 1903, for a fresh expedition 
to the highlands. Beside myself and Herr Keidel, 
the party now consisted of the two guides, Kostner 
and Stockmayer, the preparator Herr JNIaurer, the 
two Kossacks BesporodofF and Simin, with the 
corresponding accompaniment of Sart attendants 
and horse-keepers. Later we were joined by 
ChernofF, another Kossack, who had been one of 
Sven Hedin's assistants. All the military posts 
along our route had previously received due in- 
formation from the Chinese authorities in a way 



that deserved my thanks. They also gave me 
\\Titten instructions and a policeman ("Beg") for 
a part of the way. Through the kindness of His 
Excellency N. F. Petrovsky, Imperial Russian 
Consul-General at Kashgar, to whom I am greatly 
indebted for much help, the Russian "Aksakals" 
in Uch-Turfim and Ak-su received notice of my 
approaching arrival. Though my residence in 
Kashgar had not been too pleasant, I still parted 
reluctantly from persons, whose kindly advances 
and disinterested support had stood me in good 
stead on many trying occasions. 

As the raw weather and the masses of snow, 
lying on the uplands, did not yet allow us to push 
into the high valleys, I decided to journey at 
first for several weeks as closely as possible along 
the southern escarpments, in order to study their 
geological structure, as on this particular section 
of the Tian-Shan next to nothing was known. 
The route once more necessarily lead through 
Altyn-Artysh and Tangitar to Bash-Sugun. Still, 
the repeated visit to this locality was not thrown 
away, since it lead to the discovery of carboniferous 
Permian deposits. 

My intention was to make my way over the 
Kara-bcl passes into the Aiktyk valley, whose 
southern bank is formed by the " Kok-kya 
range," as it is called by Severzoff, why I do 
not know. Thence the descent could be made 
into tlic narrow ravines of the Kok-shaar river, 
cut between the aforesaid range and the section 
of the southern border-range also named by 


SeverzofF the " Bos-aidyr Chain." The project, 
however, was thwarted by the stupidity or the 
ill-will of the " Beg," appointed by the Chinese 
authorities to accompany me. I should here point 
out that tlie terms Kok-kya and Bos-aidyr, 
applied to mountain ranges, are unknown to the 
natives along the southern border. 

From Bash-Sugun the way led east and north- 
east in narrow gorges through light-coloured, coral- 
bearing limestones, then along the southern 
border of the great mountain range across the 
surface of the plateau, where the outer range 
rises only in isolated crags above enormous, heaped 
up masses of mountain drift, like cliffs out of the 
sea. At the Kirghiz settlement of Kara-jil these 
crags of the front range reach a height of only 
fifty to sixty feet, and consist of interstratified 
light and dark limestones, the latter of which 
yielded a rich upper carboniferous fauna. The 
place must not be confused with the Chinese 
military post of like name, which lies farther 
north in the Aiktyk valley. Of this district, 
which was subsequently traversed by the ex- 
pedition, the maps give an altogether inadequate 
representation, wliich will in many respects be 
coiTCcted and completed by our route surveys. 

From Kara-jil we travelled in an east-north- 
east direction along the foot of a limestone ridge, 
1,600—2,000 ft. (500—600 m.) high, through the 
loess steppe, where the outer range, buried in 
the drift, may still be followed in island-like 
fragments for a long distance. Then we turned 



a little south to the Kh-ghiz settlement of Jai- 
teve (tube?), on the shore of the saline lake 
Shor-kyl. At this point the expedition touched 
Sven Hedin's route of the year 1895, but again 
immediately diverged in a north-easterly direc- 
tion, and made its way into a valley, which 
intersects the mountain range at an acute angle. 
This valley is of typical form, narrowing in its 
upper course to the shape of a ravine and 
becoming a perfectly developed transverse valley, 
sunk in hard strata of limestone, grauwacke and 
phyllite-like schists. We found this typical erosion- 
\'alley (Apatalkan) and its secondary valleys water- 
less, and only at the valley head came on a feeble 
stream, issuing from the snow-fields lying there. 
The origin of such a valley, and of other erosion- 
valleys, traversed by the expedition shortly before 
and afterwards in the journey to Uch-Turfan, 
cannot be explained satisfactorily by the periodical 
streams which flow through them only for a small 
part of the year, but much rather points to great 
climatic change. 

The route led between mountains, whose steep 
sides, in consequence of the slope of the strata 
towards the north, were turned towards the 
\ alley, up to the Apatalkan pass, nearly 10,000 ft. 
(3,000 m.) in altitude; then down through the 
snow-clad northern Apatalkan valley (Uyuk- 
Apatalkan), of trough-like profile, where, notwith- 
standing the advanced time of the year (April 
22nd), we re-entered in the region of winter and 
encountered ^^olent snowstorms. The ramparts 


of the valley consist of a regular folded mass, 
already much worn down, of phyllite-like schists 
and grey-blue grauwacke, both of very varying 
appearance. This horizon of great thickness can 
be followed a distance of twenty-five or thirty 
miles in the Kok-shaal valley. Kok-shaal is the 
name, given in general to the upper course of the 
Taushkan-daria by the population living on its 
bank. At the mouth of the Apatalkan valley, 
the Kok-shaal valley is already a mile or a mile 
and a half wide, and looking back one sees, only 
a little farther to the west, the river leaving the 
ravine, whence it issues through a door-shaped 
opening, and then rushing in a majestic curve 
into the distance. 

To my regret time did not suffice for in- 
specting the ravine, from which this river issues, 
especially as it had never before been visited 
by any expedition. It is significant that in the 
Kok-shaal valley, as in all the less recent Tian- 
Shan valleys, we at once met with unusually 
large masses of conglomerates, which constantly 
accompany the course of the river, irregularly 
overlying the old schists, and in their turn over- 
laid by more recent conglomerates, etc. 

At the locality of Abdul-kia, ahas Alep-turga, 
about 8,200 ft. (2,500 m.) in altitude (these, like 
most of the following names, are not to be found 
on any of the existing maps) — the Kok-shaal 
river should be crossed, but, owing to the strength 
of the current, the passage proved impracticable. 
We had to travel along the limestone range on 


the right bank, against the bluff walls of which 
the river beat for a long stretch, and hence 
induced us to take our way through defiles of 
the surprisingly eroded limestone ridges. Thus, 
travelling for some time near the border of the 
mountain mass, we again reached the main 
valley, where the river, now divided into several 
branches, could be crossed. Already at Ak-kia 
the view up the river had opened out to the 
fine chain of snow-clad, rocky mountains belong- 
ing, at least in a purely orographical sense, to 
the so-called Bos-aidyr chain {vide p. 113), for 
the separation of which from the continuous wall 
of the Kok-shaal-Tau, however, I can find no 
satisfactory boundary-line either from a geo- 
logical or an orographical point of ^^ew. The 
route over the wide, slightly inclined steppe- 
terraces of the northern bank was now open to 
us. Passing the great Kirghiz settlement, Kara- 
bulak, with one of Yakub Beg's dilapidated forts, 
we crossed a plateau of consolidated pudding-stone 
{Deckcnschottei^), rising gently towards the north- 
east, and approached the foot of the rugged 
precipitous mountain rampart at the Aul of 
Chagash-gumbes, about 8,000 ft. (2,450 m.) in 
altitude. The secondary range of the Kok-shaal- 
Tau, which here attains a height of ciixa 11,500 ft., 
though it must, from a geotectonic point of view, 
be considered as separate from the higher ranges 
behind it, should, according to the maps, belong 
to Severzoff's " Bos-aidyr range." The native 
Kirghiz call it Markesh-tagh, The drift mounds 


at its base contain no crystalline material, this 
front wall being composed of limestones, calcareous 
slates, and very dense, highly metamorphic, bright- 
coloured clay-slates and sandstones, which dip now 
to north-north-west, now in the reverse direction. 
Crystalline fragments (granite and syenite) which 
are brought down in the beds of several streams 
that break through the front range, appear to be 
derived from the higher ones behind ; but lower 
down the valley I found in more recent drift, 
which there covers the base of the hills to a great 
depth, crystalline material (large granite blocks) 
in places, where no passage leads back through 
the lower range. They were doubtless carried 
hither by ice from the inner recesses of the 
mountain range. These are not the only traces 
of former glacial action which we found in the 
Kok-shaal valley ; on the right as well as on 
the left bank such traces were proved to exist, 
though not very abundantly. The section of 
the Kok-shaal-Tau, to which the name of the 
Bos-aidyr chain is given consists of several 
nearly parallel chains, of which the hinder, more 
northerly, is much higher and possesses more 
variety of mountain shapes than the range in 
front. Its summits, clad with nevd, are very 
steep. Here there is displayed a characteristic 
of the configuration of the Tian-Shan, which I 
had already observed and afterwards often con- 
firmed — that of its parallel structure. SemenofF, 
the most acute explorer who has ever visited any 
part of the Tian-Shan, long ago directed attention 


to this law, which finds such abundant expression 
in the configuration of this giant range. The Kok- 
shaal-Tau shows, on the whole, a gradual ascent 
from west to east, as far as the neighbourhood of 
the Bedel pass, where a sinking takes place. 

At the Kirghiz settlement of Kysyl-gumbes, 
about 7,500 ft. (2,300 m.) above the sea, which 
owes its name to the red colour of the loess 
surface, a result of the decomposition of the 
bright red ("kysyl" = red) limestones, conglomer- 
ates, and sandstones which form the steep, finely 
peaked ramparts of the valley, and to the many 
Kirghiz burial chambers ("gumbes") which dis- 
tinguish the region. 

An excursion to the so-called Bos-aidyr chain 
was arranged, and, for a better insight into its 
formation, one of its lofty peaks was to be climbed. 
But, to my regret, this purposed excursion came 
to nothing, owing to a phenomenon, which, 
regularly, during the long time the expedition 
was engaged on the south side of the range, 
made obser\-ations exceedingly difficult and partly 
impossible — namely, continuous and unusually 
dense fog. The fog was, in this early part of the 
year, almost denser — at all events it was much 
more continuous — than we find it in the Alps in 
Novcm})er (a surprising phenomenon in this 
southern region, distinguished by the dryness of 
its climate) ; for weeks at a stretch there was 
IK) clear weather. The explanation lies in the 
intense licating of the loess soil during spring- 
time. Tiiis, at some hours of the day, whirls 


the fine dust aloft, and, even when the wind 
is cahn (to say nothing of the strong winds 
which often prevail), drives it in commotion up 
to the higher strata of the air, where it remains 
floating. In spring, in consequence of the melting 
of the snow, the mountain slopes give off much 
moisture by evaporation, and these vapours are 
condensed on the fine floating dust-particles to 
mists which neither fall nor yield. In April and 
May we had often a cloudless sky, but seldom 
a clear atmosphere. Our photographic work had 
to be discontinued often for many days — a serious 
loss. Over much that was worth observing on 
our route, lay an impenetrable veil. 

In the limestones which are mainly concerned 
in the formation of this front range, we found 
beds containing corals, whose identification will 
perhaps help to determine the age of these strata, 
which, also on the right bank of the Kok-shaal, 
form ranges of imposing height. 

At the place called Ak-tala we crossed again 
to the right bank. Here, and even earlier, the 
mountain range along the bank, the Sogdan-Tau, 
showed remarkable development in the impressive 
perspective of a lofty rampart with a crest-line of 
about fourteen miles (twenty versts) length, almost 
without a gap, deeply covered with snow, and 
on the average about 4,000 ft. (1,200 m.) above 
the floor of the valley. Behind it a far higher 
range (again a parallel structure), with a some- 
what greater variety of form, and bearing small 
glaciers, became \'isible. 


The existence of glaciers is indicated also by the 
name of a transverse valley, Uch-INIusduk, which 
means " Five Glaciers." To this Sven Hedin has 
already directed attention. This great mountain 
range, occupying a wide area, is still altogether 
terra incognita. Our route along its border led 
us into a longitudinal valley of considerable 
breadtli, where there are strata of laminated, green 
phyllitic schists, interchanging with strata of grey 
sandstone in a regular, rather sharply folded 
formation, whose partially eroded arches may be 
followed for a great distance. These strata, as 
was afterwards proved, at different points, overlie 
discordant limestones, which strike obliquely 
across from the left bank. 

Also, in this now waterless region there are 
wonderfully perfect erosion- valleys. Near the 
^Vul of Sum-tash, in the neighbourhood of which 
are the still unknown ruins of an ancient town, 
complicated foldings in the same rock-series are 
disclosed, and the limestones, seen below, crop 
up to the surface at the Kok-belys pass, which 
we crossed, where they contain a bank bearing 
bracliiopods, and lie discordant among argillaceous 
schists. The structure of the mountain chain 
onwards steadily engages the attention in con- 
scfjncncc of tlie magnificent disclosures of its 
interesting stratification, but this subject cannot 
be discussed in this summary report. Herr 
Keidel will make good this and other deficiencies 
in liis detailed geological description of the 
regions traversed. 

UCH 121 

As we descended an affluent to the main valley 
we reached the Kirghiz settlement of Uch (on 
Hassenstein's map wrongly placed on the left 
bank) about 6,400 ft. (1,950 m.) in altitude, and 
subsequently we again struck Sven Hedin's route 
of 1895. Among the magnificent, gorge-cleft 
mountain ramparts at Uch, where, from a height 
I climbed, the three parallel chains of the Sogdan- 
Tau were visible, a collection could be made 
of the fine rich fauna of the upper carboni- 
ferous formation, here existing in two distinct 
horizons, lying in slight discordance. This rock 
sequence can be followed far to the east. Here 
for the first time we discovered foraminiferous 
schists (bearing Schivagerinas), which from this 
point steadily accompanied our route along the 
southern slopes as far as the Khalyk-Tau. The 
extraordinarily wide area, on which these fora- 
minifera, which characterise the uppermost car- 
boniferous formation, are distributed, is a new 
fact in the stratification of Central Asia. 

In the continuation of our journey eastwards 
we constantly found magnificent disclosures of the 
same compactly folded system, running north-east 
and south-west, especially fine in the Aul of 
Shinne. Immediately thereafter, toward the Kara- 
turuk gorge (this on Hassenstein's map is marked 
to the east instead of to the west of the pass), the 
river dashes impetuously against a cape-like pro- 
jecting spur of the mountain range, and makes 
it necessary to cross the rocky pass of Shinne- 
davan, in the neighbourhood of which, owing to 


the oblique cutting through the folds, highly 
interesting geological disclosures can be seen. 
Again there appears the rock-series of the horizon 
of Uch, discordant under schists, and, farther on, 
old stratified conglomerates overlaid with black 
limestones and reddish clay-schists, a series which 
accompanies our route over the next pass and 
onwards through a valley into the plain, where, 
in the neighbourhood of the Aul of Sary-turuk, 
it is replaced by hard, dull-coloured, crystalline 
limestones, which now, in a series of banks of 
immense thickness, form the mountain wall over 
Ak-kia to the richly cultivated Aul of Safar-bai, 
about 6,000 ft. (1,850 m.) above the level of the 
sea. The much higher, snow-clad mountain range, 
which accompanies the river on the left, remained, 
during this long journey through the Kok-shaal 
^'alley, which is often as much as two and a half 
miles (four versts) in breadth, in consequence of 
the thick fog {vide p. 118 scq.), almost continually 
invisible. The river-bed is several times constricted 
to a breadth of 000 to 900 ft. (200—300 m.) by 
cape-like projections, where the ridges, set obliquely 
to the axis of the main valley, have been much 
eroded by the action of water and wind, but the 
average l)rcadth of the valley is not diminished. 

At tlie Kirghiz settlements of Kara-bulung on 
the riglit bank and Bulung-turuk on the left bank 
the river makes a great bend, and bears henceforth 
the name of Taushkan-daria, or is even called 
simply Daria. There, from the wall on the right 
shore, which at the bend swings far to the south- 


west, low ridges of fossil-bearing limestones run 
forward to the river. Beyond the Aul of Koshe- 
bashe, where the loess-plain on the right bank 
showed rich cultivation, the river presses suddenly 
against this bank and reduces it to a mere strip. 
Even this A^anished at last, and then our route, 
since it was found impracticable to cross to the low 
left bank, led over a projecting cliff of marble- 
like limestone to the pass of Denge-davan. In 
the ascent I found the cliffs, up to approximate 
heights of sixty-five feet (twenty metres) worn by 
water — one sure sign of many I observed in the main 
valley, either that the river has deepened its bed, or 
that it formerly had a larger flow of water, or that 
both of these suppositions are true. On the eastern 
side of these cliffs the rock-walls are, owing to 
aeolian corrosion, pierced high up with thousands 
of little holes, a phenomenon which may be 
observed at many places in the Kok-shaal valley 
on the windward side of the cliffs, but nowhere else 
so finely as here. In the neighbourhood of the Aul 
of Konganishuk-Yangyll, again, a low ridge juts 
forward from the chain bounding the main valley 
on the right to the river-bed, or, indeed, into it ; 
this is through erosion, partly by water and partly 
by wind, di\'ided into separate small rocky islands, 
two of which rise in the middle of the bed of 
the river. This row of cliffs, which the Kirghiz 
call Mai-tewe (tube ?), consists of coarse, dark- 
coloured limestone conglomerate, interstratilied 
with sandstones ; the limestone fragments contain 
a rich fauna, belonging to the upper carboniferous 


formation, of which we collected specimens. To 
judge from the flat depression of the strata and 
from the arrangement of the folds, this horizon 
mioflit be followed far to the east and south-east ; 
it was. in fact, again met Avith farther to the east. 

At Bash-chakma, about 5,600 ft. (1,700 m.) in 
altitude and at Tagh-tumshuk, the commanding 
mountain range on the right bank is developed on 
a great scale (here also three parallel chains could 
be observed), and by its height and arrangement 
it forms a remarkable shelter for the region, which 
now at length (at the end of April) showed tlie 
first green of spring and the charming hues of 
blossoming peach- and apricot-trees. There, on 
a sharply projecting mountain spur, could be 
observed complicated disturbances, several flexures, 
faidts, and ruptures, which could be followed away 
to the east and north-east in a complex stratum 
of slabby limestones, quite void of fossils, loose 
sandstones, and red-brown quartzites. Farther on, 
at tlic Aul of Kum-bulung, however, only these 
sandstones appear ; they form great arches in 
tliick layers, and the products of their decom- 
position have transformed the region far and 
wide into a desolate sand-desert, from which a 
!)it of soil for cultivation can only with difiiculty 
be wrung. The protruding dark-coloured lime- 
stone ridge of Ot-bashi-tagh sets the first limit 
to the driving of the sand, at a bend of the 
river. Under its shelter the diligence and skill 
of the population (from here onwards exclusively 
Sarti.'ui) ]ia\c turned the region into an incom- 


parably luxuriant garden-land, which extends to 
the town of Uch-Turfan, about 5,000 ft. (1,500 m.) 
in altitude, and beyond it. These dark-coloured 
limestones accompany the route in crowded folds, 
frequently with remarkable bendings of the strata ; 
in them also there is an upper carboniferous fauna, 
of which Herr Keidel collected fine specimens. 
A projecting spur, formed of these limestones, bears 
on its summit the picturesque citadel, command- 
ing not only the town and its handsome walls, 
built on the Vauban system, but also the garden- 
like region far and wide. This cliff consists partly 
of great banks composed exclusively of Productus 
and Spirifh% from ^ to 4f in. (2 — 12 cm.) in 



In accordance with information obtained, I had 
to put off my purpose of penetrating from Uch- 
Turtan at this time into the transverse valleys of 
the left mountain range, since in those valleys 
there was at the time snow, of course, but no fodder 
for the horses, and the helpful Kirghiz had not 
yet come up. I therefore resolved to go farther 
east into the Khalyk-Tau, which had never before 
been visited by any explorer, and whose transverse 
valleys, opening directly to the south, might be 
expected to offer more favourable conditions. Our 
way would lie across Ak-jar, Shah-shambe, and 
Tjaggcrak to the town of Ak-su. Along this 
route we could at length (in the first week of 
May) begin gathering the first spring flora of the 

At Ak-su we had to stay for several days to 
complete our number of attendants and of horses 
as well as to meet the Chinese authorities. We 
left the interesting town on May 7th by the old 
caravan road to Bai, and crossed, between Kara- 
Yulgun and Tugarakdan (according to the incorrect 
rcprcscntalion of llie Ibrty-verst map, it would 
lie between Jurga and Yakka-aryk), the tertiary 


BAI 127 

mountain range of the Chul-Tau which trends 
west-north-west, the route lying in an obhque 
cutting through its fine system of arched folds. 
Bright-coloured banks of sandstone and clay marls, 
bearing gypsum, overlaid by slabs of conglomerate, 
compose the mountain range, whose structure is far 
less complicated and whose appearance therefore 
has less variety of form than the Topa-davan 
range in the north-west {vide p. 99 seq). The crest 
elevation of the central portion is of course higher 
than there, but in its eastern chains between Jurga 
and Yakka-aryk and farther east it is much 
weathered and already reduced to insignificant 
dune-shaped swellings ; by its decomposition it 
has furnished the material for a considerable rise 
in the level of the plain eastwards. This plain 
reaches its highest point at Chakh-chi, about 
4,760 ft. (1,450 m.) in altitude, and from this spot 
it falls away towards the Musart-daria. 

The visit to the town of Bai was of doubtful 
value. The information there obtained with 
great difficulty from the Chinese authorities con- 
cerning routes and conditions in the Khalyk-Tau 
turned out to be incorrect. It appears that 
nobody there is well acquainted with that almost 
inaccessible mountain region. The forty-verst 
map here leaves us completely in the lurch ; 
between Bai and the mountain range it presents 
nothing but a blank, and what of Khalyk-Tau 
is elsewhere shown proved wTong. As the 
topographical sketches, taken during the journey 
are not yet worked out, our course, in the absence 


of a topographical basis, could only be made 
clear by very detailed explanation ; I must there- 
fore reserve a minute description of this portion 
of our journey and, in this provisional report, 
only state the most essential points. But it must 
be mentioned that the direction and course of the 
rivers, given in tlie forty-verst map do not agree 
with fads : The Kapsalyan river, the most impor- 
tant of the rivers of this range, on issuing from its 
narrow, ravine-Uke ^ alley, takes a direction towards 
the soutli-west and west along the southern slope 
of tlie range, and the river which issues from the 
valley, wrongly named Kasnak-su on the forty- 
verst map, but in fact bearing the name of Terek, 
does not flow into the Musart-daria but into 
the Kapsalyan, whicli for its part only reaches 
that stream in the neighbourhood of Chakh-chi. 
Finally, Bai is at a much greater distance from 
the foot of the mountain range, than it appears 
to be on the forty-verst map. 

Our route passed from Bai in a north-westerly 
direction over Terte and Uskim through the 
desert to the small kishlak of Masar-Yakub, 
which is still at a considerable distance from the 
edge of the mountain range. Here it turned out 
that our next destination, the Tilbichek side- 
valley, cannot be reached directly, since its lower 
course forms a ravine, inaccessible for beasts of 
})iirdcn. We had to bear westwards and traverse 
the desert- valley of Kah-agach, which is cut into 
recent crystalline conglomerate. We crossed a 
small pass and, going along a hollow, running 


soutli-west, reached an elevated plain, and then 
went to the village of Jam-kuluk, about 5,500 ft. 
(1,600 m.) in altitude, situated on the plain at 
the foot of the first chain of older conglomerates, 
near the mouth of the Kapsalyan river. The route 
upwards in this valley had an easterly and north- 
easterly direction ; the valley is sunk between 
rugged, high, red conglomerate ramparts (of which 
more hereafter), and is divided into three small 
basins (old lake-bottoms), connected with one 
another by door-like openings, cut in the enclosing 
rock-walls. Thus we reached the region of tertiary, 
bright-coloured clay marls, which are steeply folded 
together with the hard, violet-red conglomerates, 
but, already very much destroyed, are for the 
most part now only found at the foot of the steep 
conglomerate walls, 650 to 1,000 ft. (200—300 m.) 
high. Over these marl terraces, at one side of 
which the river flows in a deep gorge, we travelled 
up the valley to the Taranchi settlement, called 
Musulyk, about 6,000 ft. (1,820 m.) in altitude, 
lying on a raised sill, deeply pierced by the river. 
Thence we went to the junction of the Terek with 
the Kapsalyan, and approached over a boulder- 
plain the spot, where the latter issues from between 
the steep walls of the lofty limestone range. We 
then left the basin of the river, and crossed the 
broad water-shed between it and the Tilbichek 
river-basin through a defile about seven miles 
(ten versts) long, which, folloAving the strike of 
much decomposed, variegated banks of marl, 
displays wonderfully \'aried and bright-coloured 



strata, especially where the red conglomerate 
walls, with their boldly peaked crest-Hne, overtop 
these steep, jagged marls. Over a steep slope Ave 
descended into the wide plain of the Tilbichek 
\-alley, whose door-hke entrance into the gorge of 
its lower course was at once visible behind us to 
the right. In the middle portion of the Tilbichek 
valley, the soft marls are almost cleared away, 
and the conglomerates alone form, by their strike, 
tlie ramparts of the valley. Since they dip 
steeply towards the south-east, the orographic right 
wall is sloped steeply enough, but the left wall 
presents towards the \'alley perfectly perpendicular 
precipices, forming a wall twenty versts long, 
sheer by the plumb-line, red, crowned with odd 
peaks and pinnacles, a sight such as is seldom 
seen elsewhere. A small Taranchi settlement in 
tlie valley is called Sukhun, about 6,400 ft. 
(I,{)o0 m.) above the sea. Thence we penetrated 
deeper into the Aalley, first going north-eastwards, 
then north, where tlie still-preserved parallel 
folds of the steep, \'ariegated marls, rising in 
serrated crests behind one another, together with 
the conglomerate walls, group themselves into 
tlie most peculiar shapes. In this geological 
horizon lie three basin-shaped widenings, which are 
coi nice ted witli one another only by door-shaped 
openings, thirty to forty feet (ten to twelve 
metres) wide. Tlirougli tlie last opening access is 
gained to a region of light grey, fine, sandy con- 
glomerates, which pass into actual sandstone and 
enclose clay-coal schists {Lcttcnkohknfichkfcr) 


with impressions of plants, and higher up there 
are dark-brown, poor clay-ironstones and grey, 
dense limestones. Far behind in the valley a 
Taranchi, living in a cave, is occupied in smelting 
iron. The main valley here branches and leads 
towards the north-west, over lofty terraces, clothed 
with Alpine meadows, to a pass ; the main branch, 
however, leads northwards as a narrow gorge, 
with almost perpendicular walls of dense lime- 
stone, between which flows a raging torrent. To 
Herr Keidel's attempts to penetrate deeper into 
the ravine, and so from the limestone belt to 
reach the crystalline, insuperable obstacles at once 
presented themselves. 

The second excursion into the mountain range 
was farther west, through a narrow, door-like and 
difficult breach in the red conglomerate walls to 
the Kepek-chai valley, where the region of the 
bright, grey, sandy conglomerate, sandstone, clay- 
coal schists, and clay-ironstones, already mentioned, 
is reached much sooner than in the Tilbichek 
valley, since this system of strata runs about 
north-east and south-west. In the background 
of the valley the most complicated forms of 
stratification, inclined folds, contortions, over- 
shdings {iyberschicbungen), etc., accompanied 
by chaotic destruction of the rock-series, can 
be observed at magnificent exposures. These 
disturbances, after more minute examination of 
the observed conditions, may probably prove 
to be associated with the already-mentioned 
disturbances in the southern Musart valley {vide 


p. 93scq.) since tlie crystalline rocks strike across 
from that region and go somewhat deeper into the 
mountain range in contact with the sedimentary 
rocks. The red conglomerates and tertiary marls, 
being much more recent, were not involved in 
this movement. 

We ascended the Busai-tash pass, about 9,200 ft. 
(2,000 m.) in altitude, leading into the Tilbichek 
valley, and thence over extensive Alpine plateaus, 
about 800—1,000 ft. (250—300 m.) higher, which 
spread out between the two valleys, named 
and tlie Kapsalyan valley. These plateaux pro- 
vide a fine view of the snowy chain of the Central 
Kluilyk-Tau. The highest peaks lie to the north 
and west ; towards the south and east there is 
a gradual falUng away. Turning back towards 
Musulyk, Herr Keidel attempted to penetrate into 
the Kapsalyan valley, but was baffled, the narrow 
gorge being completely filled with water. Only 
in winter, if the river is low or is frozen, the 
Taranchi penetrate into the valley and carry away 
fir-wood. Herr Keidel, in order to obtain an 
insiglit into the structure of the range, now 
resolved on the ascent of a high peak, about 
12,000 ft. (3,()00 m.) in altitude, standing between 
the Terek and the Kapsalyan valleys, while I 
penetrated into the Terek valley, which likewise 
has the cliaracter of a mucli-winding ravine, but, 
ncxcrtheless, proved passable. From a bivouac 
aljout 8,000 ft. (2,450 m.) in altitude, midway up 
tlie gorge, I was fortunate enough to reach its 
head, about 0,700 ft. (2,950 m.), where it divided 


into two clefts, running up to the main water-parting 
ridge. I could thus traverse the whole series of 
the sedimentary rocks lying on the outer border, 
the crystalline belt, forming the middle course of 
the valley, and the limestones and old argillaceous 
schists forming the valley-head. Thus I was able 
to collect a complete sequence of the rocks. Just 
as in all other transverse valleys of the Central 
Tian-Shan, so also in the Khalyk-Tau, it is not 
the crystalline rocks, but the limestones and argil- 
laceous schists, which form the highest and most 
central portion of the range. Here these lime- 
stones and schists on the whole strike east and 
west, with slight deflections towards the south and 
north. These conditions, however, according to 
observations already made on the JNIusart pass, 
could not be expected otherwise. In the crystalline 
rock of the Terek valley, remarkable disturbances, 
inclined folds, violent compressions and overslidings, 
etc., were noted. Even far up the valley, but 
especially at the entrance into the Terek gorge, at 
the little settlement of Bom-khotan, there exist 
Sc/iwagcri?ia-hearmg limestones, which interchange 
with plant-bearing schists ; a little farther down 
the valley, after red sandstone there follows a belt 
of porphyry between the former and the frequently 
mentioned grey sandstones and conglomerates. 

It surprised me to find in this southern valley, 
opening to the south, the features of a narrow 
transverse valley of the northern limestone Alps : 
terraces with Alpine meadows, and on steep, 
rocky slopes forests of pine, which extend into the 


recesess of the ra\dne and, on the valley-terraces 
( Thahtufcn), form dense permanent forests ; a main 
stream, well supplied with water by many brooks, 
flowing from genuine Alpine side-valleys ; splendid 
snow-clad, rocky peaks. At the head of the valley, 
where, as before mentioned, it diA^des into two 
narrow clefts, no glaciers can be formed, but there 
are small glaciers at the heads of the side-valleys, 
which widen out into the form of cirques. At 
the mouths of some of these valleys, though much 
has been washed away by floods of the stream, 
there are still considerable quantities of moraine 
debris, piled as evidence of former extensive glacia- 
tion. The whole length of the Terek valley 
amounts to about thirty-five miles (fifty versts) ; 
at a sliort distance from its head it di\ddes into 
two brandies : the one, running north-westwards, 
is called Ya-konash ; the other, rimning mainly 
nortliwards, is called Jan-kasnak. From this latter 
name the appellation of Kasnak-su, which is given 
in tlie forty- verst map to the wliole valley, is 
perliaps deri\ed. I repeat that the inhabitants 
of tlie region denote the whole valley simply by 
the name Terek. Our return-route from the 
Klialyk-Tau lay close to the skirt of the mountain 
laiigc : first upwards, in the lower course of the 
Tcrck \ alley ; then across the lofty terrace of Yar- 
jilga, wliich apparently closes the valley, down to 
the wide plain of Karabag, which extends be- 
tween the longitudinal course of the IMusart-daria 
aiid the foot of the range. The transverse valleys 
at this part ol" the Khalyk-Tau are not inserted, 



much less named, in any map. In the order from 
east to west their names are : Yagus-tal, Kysyl-tal, 
Tutuk-tery, Cholok-su, Alagyr, Tyukiir-myt. I 
found all of tliem, notwithstanding their southerly 
exposure, very snowy, and in some there were 
considerable glaciers. They are terminated by a 
mountain ridge, running north-west and south-east, 
which crosses obliquely fi'om the Musart valley, 
and for this reason the most easterly are short, 
while, in general, their length increases the farther 
they lie to the west. The most important of 
them is the Tutuk-tery valley, from which a great 
mountain-river flows. Most of these valleys 
contain pine forests, in which the inhabitants of the 
widely scattered kishlaks of the high plain burn 

Our route lay across the kishlaks : Kish-talga, 
Karabag, Kok-kya, Little Karabag, Kyssalik, and 
Chapta-khanne — continually along the edge of 
the mountain range, which falls away towards the 
high plain in walls about 4,000 ft. (1,200 m.) high. 
Along the foot, however, there is a belt of tertiary 
deposits, more or less destroyed and carried away. 
After crossing the INIusart-daria, which here, at 
Cliapta-khanne, presses quite up to the mountain 
wall, the road leads without intermission over old 
moraine-soil, o\'er-grown with verdure, across a 
number of moraine-ridges, running north and 
south, cut by little cross-valleys ; on these ridges 
lie massive erratic blocks {vide p. 97). From this 
enormous accumulation of moraine debris the 
route descended steeply to the first Chinese picket. 


Koncshar, at the entrance of the southern Musart 
\'alley, where we made our appearance on May 
2.'3rd. On tlie assurance that, in accordance with 
the orders of the Chinese authorities at Ak-su, 
wliich had been forwarded to the Sartian " Begs," 
I sliould find fodder for the horses and provisions 
for the company ready at all stations, I resolved 
to pay another visit to the southern Musart valley. 
My principal aim was to penetrate from the last 
picket, Tamga-tash, to the unexplored Karakol 
\'alley, which extends thence to the north-east, 
and become acquainted with the very important 
glacier of tliis valley, probably one of the largest 
in the Tian-Slian, and also to explore its sur- 
roundings, which consist of completely ice-covered 
mountain chains of gigantic height, whose con- 
nection M'ith the great main ranges still remains 
o])scurc. The extensive glacier background of the 
Turpal-che valley was also to be investigated. To 
my deep regret these plans could not be carried 
out, since the " Begs," notwithstanding the orders 
sent them, left me in the lurch. 

I first made, from Tamga-tasli, a tour of in- 
spc(ti(jn to tlie great Karakol glacier, w^hereby it 
was establislied that this glacier, hke the Inylchek 
glacier, is o\'erspread with a great coating of 
moraine dc'-bris, the passage of wiiicli, to a length of 
only lor two and a half miles (four versts), took 
much time and proved very troublesome. So far as 
could be seen from an elevated crest on the left bank 
of the valley, this debris mound extends still farther 
over a stretch of about seven miles (ten versts) up 


the glacier before free ice can be reached. This 
has certainly three times the length of the moraine- 
covered part. At the end of the glacier tongue 
there is a small moraine-lake. The traversing 
of the glacier and the investigation of its environs 
would have required at least a week. When I 
had returned from this trip to the picket, it turned 
out that only an insignificant quantity of fodder 
had been brought, and there was no more in 
prospect. I had therefore to hasten my retreat 
from the inhospitable valley, and, to my regret, to 
give up the investigation of this region, the most 
unexplored of the Central Tian-Shan. Though 
this trip had cost me a week's time, it had not 
been taken in vain, inasmuch as the geological, 
glacial-geological, and orographical conditions of 
the Musart valley, already briefly described, had 
this time been more fully investigated, than was 
possible in the flying visit of the year before. 
Unusually violent winds, sand-storms, and mist 
to some extent interfered with the work. 

By the route, already indicated, we returned to 
Ak-su, where now the Kossack Chernoff*, one of 
Sven Hedin's attendants, joined the expedition, 
and at last, after incredible difficulties, the long- 
expected supplies and outfit, absolutely indispens- 
able for the continuance of our work on the high 
mountain range, were completed. 

Uch-Turfan is more favourably situated as a 
point of departure for the investigation of the 
southern transverse valleys, since it is nearer the 
mountain range, and we therefore returned to that 


place. On the way a rich collection was made of 
the steppe and desert flora, now in the freshest full 
bloom. Being properly supported by the Chinese 
" Ambal " at Uch-Turfan, a well-informed and agree- 
able man, as well as by the Sartian " Aksakal " of 
the Russian Consulate in Kashgar, I could satis- 
factorily carry out my investigations in the 
hitherto quite unexplored side-valleys of the south 
Central Tian-Shan. 

The atmosphere had in the meantime become 
transparent, and from Uch-Turfan we had daily a 
clear view of the southern mountain range. The 
great abundance of snow, and especially the rich 
glaciation of these southern chains, far exceeded 
my conceptions. The background of the Kaiche 
valley, with the wonderfully bold mountain peak 
marked by Kaulbars with the name of PetrofF 
peak (not Peter peak), the magnificent Bos-tagh 
group, and, more than all, the mighty, completely 
glaciated Sabavchy chain, formed a series of 
surprises, considering the exposure of the slopes 
facing to the south, or partly to the west. 



We left Uch-Turfan on June 11th, crossed without 
difficulty the Taushkan-daria, which, however, had 
become much swollen, and, gradually ascending 
the deeply intersected debris-coating of the desert, 
approached the foot of the mountain range. 

AVhat we had already learned in our journey 
along the southern base of the Tian-Shan was 
here for the first time shown in the most con- 
vincing manner : of the so-called wall-like descent 
of the Tian-Shan towards the Tarim basin, of 
which so much has been written and which one 
would expect from the representations of maps, 
there was, except at a few places, nothing to 
be seen. The veil of haze surrounding the 
mountain range and the sharp light of the steppe 
produced this felse impression on travellers, who 
passed along at a greater distance from the 
mountains. Nearly everywhere the Tian-Shan 
slopes away gradually towards the high plain 
at its southern base, in places (according to 
peculiarities of structure of its different parts 
and the corresponding course of erosion), sub- 



siding gradually in ranges of transverse spurs, 
whose cape-like ends project far into the desert, 
or in other places in the step-like tailing off of 
longitudinal ranges. Besides, if it is considered 
liow much of the outermost skirting range lies 
buried in the enormous rubbish-heaps of the 
high plain, frequently mentioned in this report, 
the hitherto prevailing conception of the wall- 
like descent of the range must be given up. 
In some places limestones appear as projections 
from the range ; at others, conglomerates and 
tertiary clay marls form the outermost folds. 

Our first stopping place was the oasis of 
Kukurtuk, on the little stream called Ui-Bulak, 
distant aljout sixteen miles (twenty-five versts) 
from the outlet of the Kaiche valley, and about 
5,300 ft. (1,620 m.) in altitude. With the help 
of the Kirghiz of that place we penetrated into 
the Janart valley, to determine what connection 
it has with the alleged Janart-breach through 
the mountain range, and how far the representa- 
tions, hitherto given on maps would be confirmed. 
On the liigli plain, on approaching the Janart 
river, I found indeed a river-bed about 130 ft. 
(40 m.) deep, cut into the boulder deposits, 
and wide enough even for great floods, but not 
such as would indicate a powerful river. The 
quantity of water, flowing through it, was clearly 
only moderate. These circumstances alone sufficed 
to make me d()ul)t the existence of the so-called 
Janart-breach. At the entrance into the mountain 
valley, 7,100 ft. (2,250 m.) in altitude, where 


the inevitable Sc/iwago'ina-hear'mg limestones — 
much compressed, however — again appeared, I was 
surprised to find a shallow, trough-shaped river 
section and a rather strong mountain stream, but 
no mighty river, such as must be formed by the 
united waters from the largest glaciers on the 
north side : the Sary-jass, Inylchek, Kayndy, etc. 
The flood-marks on the rock walls showed a height 
of ten to thirteen feet (three to four metres) over 
the then level of the river. A^^ith the determina- 
tion of this point my conviction was sealed, that 
not a drop of water flows through the Janart 
valley from the northern glaciers. However, I 
wished to exhaust the evidence of this, and re- 
solved to traverse to its head the valley, which 
has a length of about thirty miles (forty-five versts). 
We only rendered this undertaking feasible by 
moving oiu' camp forward three times. 

In the first third of the valley, light-coloured, 
dense limestones form the boundaries, and the 
character of the southern steppe is displayed in 
the midst of a magnificent rocky circumvallation. 
In the second third, where the valley assumes a 
north- Alpine character, with good meadow-spaces 
and fine pine-woods, it is bounded by crystalline 
schists and granite rocks, followed by a second 
series, consisting of light-coloured limestones — 
interstratified with dark limestone schists, and a 
ponderous series of dark schists and light marbles 
succeeds this. A thin belt of green grauwacke- 
schists and phyllites appears to be the outcrop 
of the similar rock-series, observed in the upper 


Kok-shaal valley, but there in a much thicker 
horizon {vide p. 115 scq.). Then again follow lime- 
stone schists and marbles, reaching almost to the 
head of the valley. The last third shows a gorge- 
like form, but quite at the end is a fan-shaped 
widening, where the glaciers spread out. In the 
highest region we found in the circumvallation 
of the pass a belt of granite which, at least in 
its southern slope, has but little breadth. The 
whole of the complex stratification is very 
steeply set; the mean direction is E. 10° N. In 
interstratified limestones and limestone schists 
Herr Keidel found a carboniferous fauna, which 
seems to belong to two distinct horizons. The 
glacier in the main valley has no great extent ; 
in the side-valleys, especially in those on the 
west, the glaciers are somewhat more extended, 
but are rapidly retreating. So much the more 
surprising are the great accumidations of moraine 
debris, which even at the outlet of the valley, 
rise liigli up against the rocky walls. In the 
middle of the valley, where the steep form of the 
rock-walls did not admit of their preservation, 
the ri\'er has cut its bed deep, and we saw the 
remains of ancient ground-moraine under the 
<ilhi\ ium. Ik'hind, the valley is for a long stretch 
cliuked up with great moraine-masses, so that, to 
reach its head, one has continually to cross great 
walls of blocks and boulders ; among these only 
a very little crystalline material is to be observed. 
At the ice-clad pass, 14,500 ft. (4,400 m.) in 
altitude, wc slood in the midst of a magnificent 

PEAK (about 20,503 FT.) EAST OF JANAKT PASS. 

[To /ace p. 142. 


environment of exceedingly rugged, ice-clad, rocky 
peaks, whose summits probably considerably exceed 
16,000 ft. (5,000 m.) in altitude. On the north 
side our gaze fell on a wide, rock-bounded 
basin of neve, which drains through a narrow 
winding gorge, no doubt, to the Ishtyk-su. An 
ice-clad chain with no ^'ariety of form hinders 
a more extended ^ iew on the north-west ; judging 
from our position, it can only be Ishigart-Tau. 
Lofty peaks near at hand obstructed the view 
of the Central Tian-Shan. To the west it might 
perhaps have been possible, through an opening 
in the ice-clad ramparts, to get a sight of the 
glacier of the Kaiche \^alley, which would have 
been of interest to me for the sake of settling 
the position of the commanding PetrofF peak, 
which I had already seen from various points 
{vide p. 138) ; but time for this purpose failed. 

It was now established that the Janart valley 
does not cut through the range, and that by its 
channel no water can flow from the north to the 
south side. Still, the problem was only half 
solved ; the question as to what route these waters 
really take in their southern course was still open. 
The large secondary valley, the IVIunkys valley, 
which runs parallel with the Janart valley in its 
course tlu'ough the mountain range, and does not 
unite with it till it reaches the plain, might possibly 
be the channel by which the waters flow from 
the north side, and to convince myself whether 
this M^as so, I visited this valley. There I found 
a very wide and very deep river-bed, but with 


little water; moreover, after ha\ing penetrated five 
miles (eight \ersts) into the valley, I could already 
determine with certainty that at the valley-head 
there could be no breach through. The Kirghiz 
were well acquainted with the fact, that the waters 
flow from the north side to the south side, and 
they consistently indicated the Kum-aryk as the 
channel by which they are conveyed to the 
Taushkan-daria. To convince myself of this was 
my next task. The most advisable route to the 
Kum-aryk would be that near the foot of the 
mountain range ; for by that route it could be 
obseo^d whether any other important river 
flowed from the range. 

In all existing maps the transverse valleys, which 
cut the southern slope of the range between Bedel 
and Kum-aryk, are inserted very incompletely — 
most fully as yet in the map given in KrasnofTs 
Report {Sapiski, 7. R. G. G, tom. xix. 1888), but 
even in this a number are wanting. I may therefore 
set down their names here, in the order from 
west to east : Bedel, Kok-rum, Tanke-sai, Myn- 
dagyl-l)uluk, Kukurtuk, Aire, Kaiche, Taltan-su, 
Janart, Munkys, Sindan, Kosh-karata, Ui-bulak, 
Ulu-jailak, Ulak-teke, Kum-aryk. Of all these 
the Bedel, tlie Ivok-rum, and the Janart carry 
the most water. 'JMie water of most of the others 
soaks into the rubbish which forms their bed, 
and only comes to the surface again at vanous 
places far to tlic south. From the Janart east- 
wards tlie Sindan, whicli moreover enters the 
Junurt on the plain, is the only river, which has 


continuously a considerable flow. Its bed is cut 
into unusually large banks of d^^^bris-deposits. The 
other river-beds carry only at times, but then in 
considerable quantities, the water from the melting 
snow to the Taushkan-daria. The route east- 
wards took the expedition through a wide extent 
of the tertiary mountain range, which, north of 
Uch-Turfan, strikes south-west and north-east. 
It consists of conglomerates, lying in a wide, flat 
anticlinal arrangement. The abundance of water 
there is astonishing ; it cannot have been produced 
in this hot, snowless region, but evidently flows 
underground from the high mountain range, and 
only comes to the surface here. Some of the 
springs are salt. In the middle of the boulder- 
strewn desert lies, at the foot of this chain, the 
important oasis of Kuchi, a Taranchi settlement 
about 5,300 ft. (1,G00 m.) in altitude. It proved 
exceedingly difficult to get trustworthy informa- 
tion there, concerning the route to the Kum-aryk. 
Mistrust and fear inspire these people. Only this 
much could be ascertained, that the continuation 
of our route directly eastwards was impracticable, 
since the Kum-aryk in that direction forms a 
single, impassable stream. It was necessary to 
go south-eastwards to tlie oasis of Oi-tattir, where 
the river is divided and can be crossed in the 
morning hours. We travelled through a deso- 
late desert, only adorned with the splendid 
Sabavchy chain, which, towering in the north-east, 
stretches, a dazzling white wall, far to the east. 
This route crosses a wide stretch of country, 



sprinkled with ruined, abandoned farm-buildings. 
Not loner affo, water could be conducted to this 
region from the Kum-aryk, and the country was 
flourisliing. It seems that, meanwhile, the river 
has deepened its bed ; the canals can no longer 
^ecei^'e water, and the region has reverted to a 
desert. Oi-tattir, about 4,900 ft. (1,480 m.) in 
altitude, is a very fertile oasis, which takes from 
the Kum-aryk more water than it uses for its 
crops, and the soil has become marshy. Two 
miles (three versts) eastwards from this oasis we 
crossed the stream. It spreads out its water to 
a distance of nearly three miles (four versts) in 
fourteen considerable and several small arms, with 
an aggregate breadth of 560 ft. (170 m.) and a 
maximum depth of 4 ft. (120 cm.) at the hour 
when the water is lowest. In the afternoon, 
towards e\'ening, the quantity of water is more 
tlian double that of the morning flow, and the 
river is then impassable. 

Already Sven Hcdin, who in 1895 crossed the 
river at vVk-su, where it is called the Ak-su-daria, 
had showed that its water-supply on June 8th was 
.•30(» cm. per second (at what time of day ?), or 
almost as large again, as that of the Taushkan- 
daria. The name Kum-aryk is not in the forty- 
vcrst maj), l)ut is that commonly and exclusiv^ely 
used by the inhaljitants of its banks. It is, more- 
over, \cry suitable, its meaning being the canal 
(or (IimiiikI) <»r tlie desert. On issuing from the 
gorge, in which it traverses the mountain range, 
on to the iiigli plain, it flows in a cleft, about 


500—650 ft. (150—200 m.) deep, cut perpen- 
dicularly in the drift-bed, so that the region 
along its banks remains waterless, a perfect desert 
which, interrupted only by a few oases, stretches 
to Ak-su. Between the arms where we crossed it, 
are stretches of desert with moving sand and sand- 
dunes. In the tract over which we travelled after 
crossing to the east bank, a continuous, narrow 
belt of fertile oases extended for several versts 
along the sides of a great canal and at the foot of a 
high embankment-like stage, with which the high 
plateau, which rises steeply to the mountain 
range, fcills away to the level of the river. This 
row of farms, ten to twelve miles (fifteen to 
eighteen versts) long, hidden under fruit-trees, 
is divided into four Auls : Chandar, Tokai, Togak, 
and Shaikhle ; in addition to the waters from the 
canal they recei\'e also some water from two 
streams, issuing from the mountains farther east, 
tlie Chorlok and the Tamlok. The last-named 
oasis, Shaikhle, formed our base for the excursions 

As soon as I saw the Kum-aryk, a river 
with, especially in the afternoon, an imposing 
volume of water, it became clear to me that 
such a flow could owe but little to the snows of 
the south side, and that this must be the river 
which is fed by the waters from the great glaciers 
of the north side. 

We travelled from Shaikhle under the slope of 
the high terrace first westwards to the bank of the 
river, there flowing in a single channel about 400 ft. 


(120 m.) wide, but soon turned from the river 
northwards through a gorge, cut deep hi the thick 
accumulated rubbish, and, gi-adually ascending, 
reached tlie barren boulder-floor of the plateau. 
Tliere on tlie lofty bank, always 650 ft. or so above 
the rixer, now flo^\ing from the north, we pushed 
on up the valley. After some time the plateau 
became di\4ded in a complicated manner by deep 
ra\ines, cut perpendicularly, mostly over 300 ft. 
(100 m.) deep. We descended to the river-bed 
and lield on our way at the side of the water 
till the stream, beating hard against the wall 
of the gorge, forced us back to the plateau. 
AN'ith continual ups and downs in crossing the 
raxines we toiled on our way, till at length, after 
we had followed the course of the valley for about 
seventeen miles (twenty-five xersts) our further 
advance was stopped opposite the place, where the 
Kmn-aryk breaks forth from its narrow gorge. 
AX'^hat had been told me by the inhabitants of 
Sliaikhle and heard by me with incredulity was 
tluis confirmed ; it is not possible to penetrate 
into the gorge, between perpendicular walls the 
stream issues from its mountain fastness, and in 
this gorge, as far as one can see, leaves not a foot- 
breadth of ground free from water, at least during 
the flood period, whicli lasts from the end of April 
to the beginning of October. In winter, as the 
inhal)itants of Shaiklile say, one might perhaps 
penetrate into the gorge, })ut no one attempts it, 
since nothing is to be found there, except rocks 
afid water. Only an expedition, expressly equipped 

I / 



and organised for the purpose, and provided with 
fuel and supphes for men and horses for a sufficient 
length of time, could, in the late autumn or in 
winter, succeed in traversing the tortuous gorge 
and in accurately laying down its course and the 
courses of its contributory streams as iav as the 
mouth of the Uch-kul in the Sary-jass. The con- 
figuration of the whole of this hydrographic system, 
as given in the forty- verst map, is very fragmentary 
and defective. The greatest defect is, that between 
Sary-jass and Inylchek, indeed, every connection 
of the river system is wanting. The perpendicu- 
larly cut walls of the Kum-aryk banks, after the 
stream has issued forth, are in some places per- 
ceived to be accumulations of huge rounded blocks 
piled without cement one above another to the 
height of nearly 300 ft. (100 m.). To produce such 
results the volume of water, flowing through the 
gorge must have been formerly much greater, as 
was the case in the post-glacial period, and this 
has continued during the emptying of tlie lakes, 
concealed behind the gorge, as these were one by 
one cut open by erosion working backwards. 

The flow from the Sabavchy glacier, coming 
from the east, joins the Kum-aryk as a great 
turbulent mountain torrent, immediately after the 
latter river issues from its breach. In the back- 
gi'ound of the Kum-aryk gorge on its north 
side, the commanding sno^\y peaks of the Bos- 
tagh chain are seen, and behind them a still higher 
but rockier chain. I conjecture that the Koi-kaf 
valley cuts in between the two chains. As I was 


able later to observe from other standpoints a 
broad side-valley branches off from the gorge of 
the Kum-aryk, shortly beyond its mouth, to the 
north-west, whose head in the much-levelled 
main chain west of the Bos-tagh group, is a 
wide glacier-trough among low, tent-shaped, 
snow-clad summits. That this side-valley (the 
Kirghiz call it Kara-gat) is without difficulty 
accessible from the high plain by crossing this ridge 
in front of it, and consequently that the depression 
in the main crest can be reached, is to me not 
doubtful. Probably the key to unriddle the whole 
mystery of the breach through the range, would 
be found to lie here. Though I now stood before 
the curtain, which veiled the yet unsolved part 
of tlie problem of the Kum-aryk breach, I had, 
owing to the great amount of work awaiting 
me on the northern side, no more time at my 
conunand for its solution. Of the longitudinal 
valley, where, on the east of the Bos-tagh group, 
according to the forty- verst map, the Ak-su or 
Kum-aryk must have its origin, I shall say some- 
thing later. After the photographic survey of 
the interesting locality was completed, we retraced 
our steps to Shaikhle. 



Although it was now high time to cross over 
to the northern side of the mountains in order to 
bring the remaining investigations to a conclusion, 
I was unwilling to leave this region without a 
glance into the still wholly unknown glacier-tract 
of the Sabavchy chain. 

P'rom the standpoint of Shaikhle, looking north, 
the mountain system is seen unrolling itself in 
a series of parallel longitudinal grades up to the 
plateau, all of which have to be crossed to get 
into the Sabavchy valley. Add the cliain bounding 
the Sabavchy valley on the north, and these four 
chains will represent four parallel folds, bearing 
E. by 30° N. The nearest, a low range shaped 
into small domed summits, consists of variegated 
marls, resting conformably on highly decomposed, 
no longer recognisable dark slates — to all appear- 
ance identical with those constituting the two 
succeeding chains farther to the north. These are 
blue-green argillaceous sandy slates passing into 
red violet. The determination of their place must, 
however, be reserved till the specimens have been 
more closely examined. 

Of the same material is built up also the third 



chain. Here, however, are infolded grey lime- 
stones and thm beds of sandy-argillaceous com- 
position resembling gi'auwacke. In the fourth 
chain these attain the dimensions of thick beds, 
alternating with layers of the blue-green slates. 
In these hmestones is to be found here and 
there an accumulation of organic remains pointing 
to formation in a shallow sea. Herr Keidel had 
the good fortune to discover in these remains a 
well-preserved fauna of the uppermost carboni- 
ferous formation. 

Traversing the first three chains and the longi- 
tudinal valleys intercepting them, the third and 
most important of which is called Terek, our 
road led us to the Kara-bury pass, 9,600 ft. 
(3,200 m.) high. This cuts through the third chain, 
which again, is known by the herdsmen of the 
region as INIansur-tagh. Looking down from 
the pass, one sees the Sabavchy valley stretched 
below, its lower course about a mile wide. On 
both sides there lie against the high, steep walls 
of the valley, green-mantled blunt ridges, round 
tops, and plateaux, composed of red and white sandy 
conglomerates and sandstones proper of tertiary 
age. These, covered everywhere with tufty grass, 
occupy also the floor of the valley, and there are 
divided by a labyrinth of perpendicularly eroded, 
dry ravines, 300 — GOO ft. and more deep. The 
anterior part of the valley is thereby rendered 
impassable. Only at one spot, by coming from 
the south-west, by way of a pass (Kysyl-kut) in 
these intersecting ridges, is it possible to cross this 


labyi'inth of the sandstone plateau and its eminences, 
and so enter the Sabavchy valley. The extra- 
ordinary ravine-formation witnesses to the volumes 
of water, once flowing through the valley — waters 
which had their origin in the enormous glaciers 
formerly developed in the valley. On many places 
these sandstones and conglomerates are overlaid 
with huge coverings of ancient moraine debris. 
On tlie slope of the chain on the left bank the 
tertiary deposits reach higher up than on the right 
bank, and are there buried under the ancient 
moraine debris to such extent that, only a few 
cliffs of the sandstones, are seen cropping through 
the verdure-clad masses of glacial and fluvio-glacial 
drift. The Sabavchy river runs close under its 
northern wall in an inaccessible gorge, scooped 
out perpendicularly in the sandstones. 

The valley divides into two branches, the more 
northern of which constitutes the principal valley. 
This runs far to the east into the heart of the 
Sabavchy chain, which is wholly shrouded in ice. 
The southern branch, broader but shorter than the 
northern, ramifles into several arms from a wide 
trough, filled entirely with snow and neve and 
surrounded by pyramidal ice-peaks ; its copious 
stream unites in the outer valley with the main 
Sabavchy river. The bottom of this lateral valley, 
hollowed out like that of the main valley, in deep 
dry ravines, lies, on an average, 1,100 ft. higher 
than that of the principal valley and consists 
also of thick beds of glacier drift, overlaying 
the sandstones. One is surprised to find in this 


dry southern region the surface of the old drift 
masses arrayed in beautiful thick Alpine meadows, 
whereon the inhabitants of the hot plain graze 
tlieir cattle in summer. Even extensive pine- 
woods are to be seen where the slopes have a 
northern exposure. We first rested a night among 
the Sartian shepherds, high up in the lateral 
valley, and then made our descent into the main 
valley to where, at the end of the ridge, dividing 
the two valleys and running out towards the 
bed of the stream, there stands a fort, built by 
Yakub Beg — for what purpose is difficult to under- 
stand — now falling into ruins. From this spot 
I undertook the exploration of the Sabavchy 
glacier, and for this venture was favoured with 
a cloudless day — a rare event in this mountain 
cliain. Tlie thermal contrasts between this high 
snowy region and the glowing plain at its edge 
are excessive, and the consequence is pronounced 
condensation phenomena in the cold upland zone, 
or stormy outbursts, occurring almost daily. 

The way to the snout of the glacier leads 
tln-ough a zone of tall, almost impassable brush. 
This is continued along both banks of the glacier, 
over moraine ridges and the debris heaps of the 
mountain walls, fencing the glacier to a length 
of six and a half miles with a broad dark belt, 
which often sends long tongues far up the moun- 
tjiin sides. Through a gatelike contraction of the 
xalley walls one reaches the glacier, the tongue 
of which ends at a height of about 9,000 ft. 
(2,7.50 m.) There I was not able to make out 


any signs of a recent retreat of the ice. Like the 
Inylchek glacier, the Sabavchy glacier is, over more 
than half its length, overlaid with a mountain- 
pile of moraine debris and blocks, presentnig an 
uncommon variety of forms. The pile is still 
more stupendous than that on the Inylchek glacier. 
Yet, owing to the exceptionally dry climate, the 
blocks, often of enormous size, are held together 
by no sort of cement. Only loose sand and dry 
detritus-gravel lie between them. As a contrast 
to this phenomenon one observes on the mountain- 
walls thick beds of fine alluvial clay, wherein are 
embedded layers of boulders. 

The ascent of the glacier, involving incessant 
climbing of ridges and crossing of valleys in the 
debris, costs no end of time and trouble. In several 
expansions of the valleys between the ridges there 
lie ice-lakes, some of considerable size. Judged 
by their depth, the mass of the glacier-ice must be 
of great thickness. Where it rounds off towards 
the mountain banks, the ice is very much crevassed, 
in part resolved into seracs. 

Owing to the amount of time consumed in the 
attempt, I did not get farther than some six and 
a half miles up the ice valley, to a spot (10,800 ft.) 
where, from the north-east, the Sabavchy valley is 
joined by a large glacier valley, the frame of which 
is constituted of magnificent and exceedingly steep 
mountains. Between the mountain walls there 
descends, from a neve plateau, stretching east- 
north-east as far as the eye can travel, a great 
glacier, the long tongue of which, completely 


free from debris, glides in a beautiful curve out 
of the valley and joins the Sabavchy glacier, pre- 
senting a splendid spectacle. The background of 
the Sabavchy valley consists of a double range of 
ice-mountains, 19,000 ft. high and upwards, show- 
ing hardly a spot of bare rock. The distance 
from the point I reached to the valley's head, I 
estimated at over eight miles. Considering its 
situation in a valley that opens to the south- 
west and lies near the outskirts of the hottest and 
driest region of the Tian-Shan, it is astonishing 
that the Sabavchy glacier has still at this date, 
nevertheless, a total length of at least fourteen 
miles (twenty-two versts). Its massive shield of 
debris protects it from liquefaction. The dimensions, 
formerly attained by it are indicated by the old 
moraine remains, well preserved in the middle reach 
of the valley, which rise 1,300 ft. (400 m.) up 
the enclosing walls. The material of the environ- 
ing walls of the valley consists in the main of the 
often-mentioned blue-green phyllite-like slates, 
which are interstratified with argillaceous sandy 
layers and grey limestones. In consequence, how- 
ever, of their immediate neiglibourhood to the 
granites, these grey limestones have, through con- 
tact, grown crystalline. The zone of the granites 
extends, as far as I could follow it, more than nine 
miles (fourteen versts) up the glacier valley, and in- 
chidcs granites of vastly varying composition, syenite 
and gneiss. A dense black metamorphic eruptive 
roctk which, farther back, I noted as one constituent 
in the granite zone, but of which I was able to 


collect only in the moraine some fragments, appears 
to be of diabasic nature. The farther one pene- 
trates into the valley, the more does one observe in 
the moraine debris fragments of black limestones, 
slates, and white and reddish marbles. It may 
thence be concluded that, as in other parts of the 
Central Tian-Shan, so also here, this series of rock 
constitutes the highest parts of the mountain chain 
at the head of the valley. The chain bordering 
the glacier on the north, presents a remarkable 
variety of forms and extremely steep peaks. Behind 
it appears another still higher chain. According to 
the forty-verst map the source of the Kum-aryk, 
or, as it is there called, Ak-su river, should lie 
between the two, a representation incorrect in any 
case. If there is a longitudinal valley enclosed 
between the two chains, as undoubtedly there is, 
then, according to reasons explained hitherto, it 
could be only a lateral valley of the Kum- 
aryk. Whether this longitudinal valley is 
identical with the Koi-kaf valley, visited by me 
later, I was unfortunately not able to ascertain 
{vide farther on). In any case, howe^er, I re- 
marked distinctly, between the so-called Ak-su 
valley of the forty-verst map and the Sabavchy 
valley, yet another valley, running in the same 
direction. It appears to be but short. It is 
known to the people of Shaikhle, who distinguish 
it by the name of Kasalai. 



I POIGNANTLY regretted that the big programme 
of the year's work, still outstanding, did not allow 
me three or four days more to complete my survey 
of the Sabavcliy glacier and make a closer inspec- 
tion of its lateral valleys. 

The return route from Kuchi was somewhat 
varied, leading us through the northern spurs of 
the tertiary mountain chain, spoken of on the way 
to Kum-aryk {vide p. 145). We crossed the skirt 
of the mountain cliain through the valley of 
I)arvasse-su, a highly expressive name, seeing the 
valley stream issues through a gate-like contraction 
in the marl walls into the broader part of the 
valley (" Darvasse " signifies door). The springs 
here, too, numerous and strong, can derive tlieir 
origin only from the ooze-water of the higher 
mountain ranges stretching northward. AVith- 
drawing from this valley, our route lay on the verge 
of this marl mountain chain ; thence we crossed 
the sliiiigle-covcrcd, desert plateau in a south-west 
direction, and again reached the oasis of Kukurtuk. 
Thence our way to the entrance of the Kukurtuk 
valley once more led us some sixteen and a half 
miles (twenty-five versts) over similar desert ground. 



At the first glance into the valley one is surprised 
at its appearing to be shut in by a comparatively 
low and snow-free chain. In order, however, to 
the understanding of what is to follow, I must 
at once lay stress on the fact, that this apparent 
enclosure of the valley is not the real one — not the 
main ridge forming the watershed between south 
and north, but only a chain, running at a short 
interval in front of the main ridge and hiding it. 
In the neighbour! lood — namely, at the Kaiche pass 
— there occurs a ramification in the main ridire. 
While the latter pursues its west-south-west course, 
the diverging chain takes first, in the shape of a 
blunt ridge almost free from perpetual snow, a 
south-south-west direction as far as to the axis of 
the Kukurtuk valley ; thence, however, it assumes, 
though of course with many turns, a direction 
averaging north-west, forms the head of the 
Kok-rum valley, and, near the Bedel pass, again 
joins the main ridge. With its transition into 
the north-west direction this chain rears up 
strikingly to far above the height of the main 
ridge, and forms a series of grand peaks with 
considerable glaciers. 

At the entrance of the Kukurtuk valley, after 
passing a zone of fine-grained conglomerates, 
we again came upon tlie inevitable Sclnvagcrina- 
bearing lime-stones. Stratified pudding-stone 
{DcckenschotteJ') lying in undisturbed position 
covers a prodigious area in the widened lower 
course of the valley. The river, which on enter- 
ing the valley runs still hidden under drift, springs 


all at once to view in copious volume a mile higher 
up. In these conglomerate-like accumulations, 
whose appearance again and again distinctly points 
to their glacial origin, the river has carved two 
longitudinal terraces {Lcingsstufen), one sixty to 
sixty-five feet above the other, and cuts its way 
in a regular, often winding canon with alternating 

Our way led us for hours far up this caiion. 
The canon character of this landscape is explained 
by the dry climate, here prevailing, and the extra- 
ordinarily disintegi'ated condition of the rock of 
the valley-walls, which accordingly absorb the 
whole precipitation, thus making lateral excava- 
tion impossible. The river, rapidly cutting its 
way deeper and deeper, has already begun the 
formation of a new terrace. 

None of the southern Tian-Shan valleys, hitherto 
visited, presents a spectacle of disintegration in 
the enclosing walls, similar to that exhibited in 
this one. The stratigraphic relations are thrown 
into such utter confusion, that it is difficult to 
form an adequate idea of the grotesque chaos. 
Direction and angle of the dip of the rock-series 
changes every ten steps. Certain layers you first 
see lying below, appear after a short interval 
perched liigh on top, without its being possible to 
determine wliich is the infolded and which the 
infolding rock. IJght and dark grey limestones 
alternate with yellow-white, marble-like limestones 
and blue-grccn slates, here of more argillaceous, 
there of more sandy, cliaracter. In general, their 


petrographic character varies with extreme fre- 
quency. They are, moreover, in an extraordinary 
degree crushed, shattered, and crumpled. Some- 
times the different series of rocks form horizons 
some miles broad, sometimes hardly more than 
thirty feet. In the dark limestones we collected 
a very rich upper carboniferous fauna, comprising 
three hundred specimens of fifty species. At the 
very entrance of the valley we were struck by 
the total absence of crystalline material among 
the drift and alluvium, and nowhere throughout 
the course of the valley could we find crystalline 
fragments. We thus received confirmation of the 
fact, which I had suspected ever since ascend- 
ing the Janart pass, in glancing into the there 
very narrow zone of granite {vide p. 142) — namely, 
the complete effacement of the crystalline zone 
between Janart and Kukurtuk ; fartlier to the 
westf at least, beyond the Bedel pass, it no longer 
crops up in the main watershed and on the south 
slope of the mountain chain. On the other hand, 
the crystalline formations farther north appear to 
be continued to the west in the mighty Borkoldai 
range (of which more later). 

On marching into the valley a short earthquake, 
accompanied with a rumbling noise, was experi- 
enced. In this region of severe dislocation that 
is a characteristic phenomenon. The valley has 
a total length of sixty versts. Accumulation of 
ancient moraine debris was observable at the 
mouths of several lateral valleys, now no longer 
holding glaciers. Remains of such debris could 



be traced also in the principal valley up to a 
considerable height on the mountain walls. Even 
in this not easily accessible valley we found on 
the threshold of an upper stage of it a primitive 
barrier, erected across it by Yakub Beg in his 
insane Russophobia ; behind the barrier the water 
of the stream was formerly banked up into an 
artificial lake. 

In consequence of the information received in 
Uch-Turfan, it was originally my intention to 
make with the caravan for the north side of 
the mountain chain by way of the Kukurtuk 
A'alley and the pass, that crosses the main ridge 
at the head of the valley. It was not long, how- 
ever, before I became aware of the impossibility 
of such a feat. I therefore resolved at least on 
climbing the pass by myself, and there obtaining 
more accurate orientation respecting the structure 
of tlie mountain chains. Despite unfavourable 
weather, I was able, starting from our second 
encampment, at about 9,000 ft. (2,820 m.), to 
successfully carry out this resolution. In the 
upper course of the Kukurtuk valley, throughout 
a stretcli of some miles, there occur contractions 
in the shape of narrow gorges. The high rock- 
walls, between whicli the stream leaves there not 
an inch of imoccupied margin, frequently approach 
to witliin fifty feet of each other, and notable 
hollo wings of the rock may })e remarked. Yet, 
liighcr up on the rock-walls, one may frequently 
pcrcei\e lochcs vioulonncs and striation due to 
tlie action of ice. This becomes intelligible when, 


higher up the valley, one contemplates the colossal 
remains of old morainic drift, into which the bed 
of the river is there cut. Several of the affluent 
lateral valleys present considerable sections, and in 
spite of their present aridity, the streams, that they 
once held led to the hollowing out of basin-like 
cavities in the principal valley. Next, at a 
threshold-like rise in the valley, comes another 
contraction, which Yakub Beg turned to account 
in again damming up the water into a lake. Shortly 
thereafter the main valley becomes impassable. It 
runs steeply, as a winding gorge, carrying copious 
water, in a north-north-west direction. Farther 
advance toward the pass must therefore be made 
through a lateral valley, dry at that season, running 
to the west and then to the north. That again 
soon becomes impassable ; the traveller has no 
alternative but to push his way upwards along 
the very steep and high walls. In this wise he 
again attains the height of a ridge, and soon 
reaches a breach, cut into the branch chain formerly 
mentioned (p. 159), which diverges from the main 
ridge near the Kaiche pass. This branch chain 
splits in turn into two arms, divided from each 
other by deep, snowy, high-lying trough-shaped 
valleys, which send their waters through steep 
couloirs into the main valley. The traveller has 
therefore the task of making the steep descent 
and then steep ascent of 800 — 1,000 ft. twice. 
Next, passing through another gap in the last 
secondary chain, he reaches the shallow channel, 
occupied by a small glacier draining to the main 


valley, through which he attains the pass proper. 
And on a passage like this, Yakub Beg's Russo- 
phobia deemed further fortification needful ! 

The walls enclosing the upper valley present 
at first an alternation of rocks, similar to that at 
lower levels. Yet, immediately after the ramifica- 
tion of the lateral valley, through which the ascent 
is made, highly decomposed black slates {Tafel- 
schiefer) occupy a very broad area, while on the 
highest region, on the other hand, the often- 
mentioned blue-green slates, constantly changing 
in their constitution, predominate alone and form 
the summit of the pass (over 14,000 ft. ; 4,400 m.), 
as also the blunt, neve-covered heights environing 
it. Immediately before entering on this very thick 
horizon there lies intercalated, after the black 
slates, a zone of about 650 ft. of dark oolitic lime- 
stones. The whole series trends E. by 20° N., and 
dips very steeply, now to the south, now to the 
north. Now here, far and wide, there was no 
crystalline rock observable, thus demonstrating the 
important fact, already mentioned, of the efface- 
ment of the crystalline zone. On the pass we 
became aware, that the north side is easier to 
ascend tlian the soutli side, the slopes being 
less steep, lying much less under snow and com- 
pletely free from glacier ice — an abnormal pheno- 
menon. One sees, also, not more than 2,500 — 
3,000 ft. below the summit of the pass, beautiful 
Alpine meadows. A chain, built of dark slates, 
running approximately parallel to the main ridge 
and trending westwards toward the Borkoldai chain, 


concurs with the contracted wall, surrounding the 
pass itself, in obstructing the view of the higher 
mountains to the north. The view is only grand 
rearwards, to the south-south-west in the direction 
of the western part of the branch chain, above 
referred to {vide p. 142), running to the Kok-rum 
valley. This branch chain presents a series of very 
steep peaks, adorned with extensive glaciers. Its 
summits reach to considerably over 16,000 ft. 

Two striking facts, hard to reconcile with one 
another, were matter of thought to me in the 
Kukurtuk valley. With the exception of a few 
spots there is no grass growing in the whole of the 
principal valley ; forest is completely wanting. 
The Janart valley, on the other hand, running near 
and parallel to it, is comparatively rich in both. 
In contrariety with these data, the Kukurtuk 
valley receives a comparatively copious supply 
of precipitation, thunder-clouds gathering over 
it continually. From the neighbouring valleys, 
contrariwise, such clouds are absent. From Uch- 
Turfan and onwards this fact could be noted. 



The passage by way of the Kukurtuk pass being 
impossible, the only road, available for the caravan, 
was that by way of the Bedel pass. The 
month of June was nearing its end, and there was 
no time to lose. Not wishing to follow the well- 
known caravan route running through the steppe 
to tlie Bedel valley, which would have added nothing 
to my knowledge, and in order to gain further 
insight into the structure of the mountain chahi, 
we hurried, after clearing the Kukurtuk valley and 
taking a short passage across the waste plateau, 
in a western direction and entered a broad, dry 
valley called Chon-Jar, which cuts westwards and 
soutli-westwards into the spurs of the mountain 
cliain. The hmestones of the walls of the valley 
contain organic remains, pressed beyond identifica- 

On its contracting, the valley, which has hitherto 
presented only a scanty steppe vegetation, assumes 
an Alpine character, with slopes of fine, rich 
^Mpinc meadows. Yet nowhere in the channels 



was running water to be seen. After mounting 
a grassy pass to the Avest, we descended into 
a wide, cauldron-shaped valley, Baiter- Yailak 
(9,500 ft.; 2,900 m.), the floor and slopes of which 
were clothed with luxuriant Alpine meadows. It 
is formed by the convergence of four steep, high 
valleys cutting through high limestone ridges of 
the environing walls. But, nevertheless, here too, 
with the exception of a distant spring, no running 
water was to be found. Obviously the steep-piled 
layers of the surrounding walls soak up the 
precipitation, which runs away at no great depth 
in the loose drift soil of the declivity and the 
floor of the valley. In no other way could one 
explain the dense growth of grass in these Alpine 
meadows. After spending a night with the Kirghiz 
of the valley, we followed across Alpine meadows 
the broad, dry bed of the main stream, keeping 
a southerly course. Climbing a grassy ridge about 
500 ft. high, we descended into a hollow valley 
of altogether similar structure with that of Balter- 
Yailak. The bed of the stream, then dry, deepened 
into a ravine, and cleft a gate-like gap through 
the separating wall, thus communicating with the 
Baiter- Yailak valley. The beds of the main 
streams of these two cauldron-like valleys imite to 
form a deep channel, which, through a break in 
the east wall of the Baiter- Yailak hollow, strikes 
steeply down in a south-east direction. Climbing 
the southern wall of the second cauldron, we reached 
a pass, Kok-belys (10,500 ft.; 3,250 m.). Its 
summit affords a commanding \iew of the valley- 


ramifications, which cleave the mass of the 
mountain chain between the great transverse 
valleys of Kukurtuk and Kok-rum, and whence 
proceed, towards the Taushkan-daria, only two 
great channels : INIendagyl-bulak and Tanke-sai 
{vide p. 1-44) ; and these, too, carry water only 
periodically. It was interesting to me, to observe 
that the main affluent of the Baiter- Yailak is 
formed by the bed of a stream, then dry at its 
point of confluence, Avhich takes its rise in the 
north-west on the high chain of glacier mountains 
stretching to the Kok-rum valley {vide p. 159). 
As is reasonable to suppose, a strong current is 
said to run through the upper course of the valley 
of this stream, likewise named Baiter and also 
Ak-bel. But this current, again, does not reach, 
at least not superficially, the cauldron-shaped basin 
of Baiter- Yailak. These valleys, predestined by 
situation and structure to the possession of a 
plenitude of water, offer a striking demonstration 
of the fact, that it is not so much evaporation, as 
the permeability of the drift floor that is to blame 
for the scanty supply of water on the south slope 
of the Tian-Shan. From the Ak-bel valley a 
high glacier-pass is said to lead into the Kok-rum 
\ alley ; tliis would explain the name of Ak-bel, 
meaning " AN'hite pass." 

Descending southwards from the pass of 
Kok-bclys, we entered a valley called by the 
Khirgiz Khurgo, draining to the Kok-rum. 
Its broad water-channel was then likewise 
dry. In its lower course the valley contracts, 


breaking through a range about 1,200 ft. 
(350 m.) high, of conglomerates of fine material, 
and cleaving a chasm with almost perpendicular 
walls. These conglomerates follow the strike of 
the higher limestone ranges, and, as a many- 
furrowed, eroded range raised in flat arches, they 
form the skirt of the mountain chain as far as 
the Bedel valley, and thence beyond in a westerly 
direction, as far as they could be recognised. 

Soon after, the Khurgo valley was seen to join 
the Kok-rum valley. From a projecting terrace 
near the point of junction, a comprehensive view 
is obtained of the winding course of the Kok-shaal 
and Taushkan-daria, and of the mighty, but so 
little known mountain ranges walling in its 
southern bank {vide p. 119 scq.). These ranges 
mount to 11,500 ft. (3,500 m.) above sea-level, 
and, as coidd be seen from here, carry notable 
glaciers (see also p. 120). From here was clearly 
perceived the deep narrow saddle of the Sary-bel 
pass, and the broad plateau-like depression of the 
Dungaretme pass. We made a steep descent to 
the bank of the rapid, copious Kok-rum, which, 
as already mentioned, has its origin in the richly 
glaciated secondary chain (p. 159). At its head, 
too, the Kirghiz told me, were great glaciers. 
This statement I was myself able to substantiate 
and to fix photographically later on, from a 
height I ascended in the background of the Bedel 

We soon again quitted the Kok-rum valley, 
crossed the high desert plateau in a south-west 


direction, and reached the outlet of the Bedel 
valley at the place of caravan encampment, Uy-tal. 
The picket of the same name, a Chinese forti- 
fication with a barrier across the valley, where 
examination of the caravans is made, lies eight 
miles (twelve versts) farther back in the valley, 
and was not reached till next day. 

The Bedel pass is, with the exception of the 
Musart pass, the only one possible for caravans 
between the north and the south slopes of the 
Central Tian-Shan. ^^"hile the Musart route 
leads to Kulja, ministering only the Chinese 
traffic, the Bedel route, on the contrary, dis- 
emboguing at Przhevalsk, serves the Chinese- 
Russian commerce. It has been crossed by 
Przhevalski, Pjevtzoff, and Krassnoff. These, and 
also Kaulbars, have published some information 
respecting the route. I shall, therefore, in this 
preliminary report say but little of this very 
interesting thoroughfare, and confine myself to 
those of my observations, which refer to data 
hitlierto either very little known or altogether 
unknown. By its clear waters, the copious river 
shows at once that there is but little glacier- 
formation to be expected in the valley. The road 
in tlie lower part of the valley, on the right bank 
and aloof from the river, the bed of which is 
impassable, leads through deep ravines in the 
enormous boulder deposits of the valley-bottom. 
Here, tlierefore, more than elsewhere one has the 
opportunity of appreciating the extraordinary 
depth oi" these piled-up masses. Soon after leaving 


the here uncommonly broad belt of conglomerates, 
argillaceous-calcareous, sandy slates of unusual 
piebald colouring appear, carved by severe erosion 
into cones of blunt pyramidal shape. So ad- 
vanced is their decomposition that they break 
in pieces at the slightest touch. They proved 
to be void of fossils. Continuing our way up 
the valley, we reached a mighty horizon of more 
soHd, grey-blue slates, evidently relating to the 
fragile formations in the anterior valley. As to 
their geological position, however, no final judgment 
can for the present be pronounced. They are 
set at a very steep angle ; important disturbance 
and great irregularity is observable in their strati- 
fication. With them alternate, farther up the 
valley, other slates, now of sandy-argillaceous, now of 
calcareous-argillaceous constitution. They appear 
also, however, each in peculiar complexes and 
farther ahead, were relieved by fine, silky, dark slate 
{Glanzschiefe?'). To this series of rocks, which has 
a breadth of about ten miles, succeeds a zone of 
about two and a half miles in breadth, consisting 
of light-coloured, marble-like limestones, enclosing 
beds of red limestone. On the side of incidence 
they are resolved into chaotic rock-series, and 
on the opposite side of the valley they form 
almost perpendicular, unbroken walls. The south- 
western exposure favoured their demolition. On 
the limestones follow the same blue-green slates, 
of which a narrow zone was noted previously in the 
Janart valley (p. 141 scq.), and which again in the 
Kukurtuk valley assume enormous development 


(p. 164), and are here in the Bedel valley still 
more mightily developed. They form, here and 
onwards as far as the pass — that is, for more than 
thirteen miles (twenty versts) — the enclosing walls, 
but here, too, frequently change their petrographic 
character. Sometimes they enclose laminated, 
argillaceous-sandy layers, resembling grauwacke, 
often also fine, dark slate. Only once more 
is this series of rock interrupted by a small 
zone of dense, brown limestone ; the amount of 
warping, crushing, and disorganisation of the 
whole stratified system surpasses all conception. 
The enclosing walls, built of this series of rock, are 
distinguished by bluntness of form. Old igneous 
rock was nowhere observed, nor were any fossils 
discovered. But eruptive rocks of diabasic nature 
were noticed in some places. The occurrence 
of such does not, however, satisfactorily explain 
the extraordinary disturbance in the sedimentary 

In the second third of the \'alley, which is 
altogether about thirty-six miles (fifty-five versts) 
long, at a spot where before the ascent of the 
pass a camp was pitched, I climbed a high dome, 
towering up between the principal valley and a 
lateral valley, running in from the north-east. 
Thence T was able, as already related (p. 1C9), 
to observe and photograph the richly-glaciated 
background of the Kok-rum valley. There, 
shooting up at the valley's head, a magnificent 
ice-peak overtops by several hundreds of yards 
the highest level of its environment, reaching 


a height whicli may be reckoned at 17,000 ft. 
(5,200 m.). From the Kok-rum valley a heavily 
ice-clad pass leads into the already-mentioned 
lateral valley {vide p. 108). 

From the height I had gained I was also 
able to determine that the main ridge, trending 
north-north-east and forming, in a broader sense, 
the enclosing right M^all proper of the Bedel 
valley, was not only many-peaked, but was very 
thoroughly clad with glaciers, draining mainly 
to the north-west into the important, deep-cut, 
unexplored, longitudinal Karakol valley, sunk 
between the Borkoldai chain and the main ridge. 
From the middle of the Bedel valley a short, 
blunt, but high lateral chain, wholly covered with 
neve, is seen stretching in an east to west direction 
towards the main ridge, which trends north-north- 
east. From the heavily glacier-clad southern 
side of the angle, formed by the junction of the 
two chains, descends the Chalmaty valley. Its 
stream, as reported by the Kirghiz, is the most 
copious and most rapid of all the streams on the 
south slope of the Kok-shaal-Tau. It debouches 
opposite the Aul Safar-bai (p. 122) into the 
Kok-shaal. At the head of this Chalmaty valley 
there rises a very high and steep mountain of 
massive breadth, overtopped in this part of the 
Tian-Shan only by the so-called Petroff' peak 
(pp. 138, 143). Presumably it is the mountain 
figuring on the forty-verst map under the name 
of Usun-gush. From the Bedel pass I was able 
to take a telephotographic likeness of it. 


The flat saddle of the Bedel pass (about 
13,000 ft. ; 4,300 m.) is situated, not at the 
head of the Bedel valley, but somewhat to the 
west of the pan-shaped trough (Karmulde) at 
the head of the valley — this Karmulde containing 
a small glacier. The ^dew from the pass is 
interesting and varied only towards the south. 
On the north side the outlook is cut off by the 
Ishigart-Tau, a chain with a quite uniform series 
of peaks. All that is striking in that direction 
is the surprisingly important glacier development 
of the south versant of that chain. 

The stratigraphic complex of the south side is 
continued on the north side of the Bedel pass. 
Hence it is the extraordinary difference in the 
climatic conditions of the north and the south 
slopes of the great chain, under which moist 
weather and abundance of water prevail on the 
north side, and also the extraordinarily powerful 
glacial action, to which the north side was subjected 
in former times, that explains the great difference 
in the relief and in the character of the landscape 
between the north and the south vei'sants. I must 
reserve for the fuller report the detailed elucidation 
of this subject. In a basui-like expansion of the 
northern Bedel valley, tertiary sandstones were 
observed at a height of about 11,000 ft. (3,300 m.) ; 
they are slightly dislocated. The very copious 
northern Bcdcl ri\'cr soon scoops out a deep bed 
in the steeply inclined limestones and sandy argil- 
laceous slates in its course, flows in a narrow ravine, 
uikI, shortly before the track reaches the broad, 


flat saddle, leading into the Ishtyk-su valley, turns 
between high, perpendicular walls of rock sharply 
to the east, disappearing from view in an inaccessible 
cleft. Through the channel of the Ishtyk-su its 
waters reach the Sary-jass, and are then by the 
Kum-aryk conducted to the south side — a re- 
markable career on the part of this river, when 
it is considered how much more easily it might 
have reached the region of the Naryn system. 



After crossing the flat pass of Ishtyk (about 
11,500 ft. ; 3,500 m.) one beholds for the first time 
the Borkoldai chain, the eastern part of which, here 
in full view, presents indeed a plenitude of glaciers, 
but is not particularly steep in its build. It 
does not convey the impression of mighty altitude 
and imposingly bold character, such as is felt in 
the presence of the magnificent, ice-mailed, giant 
peaks of the western part. Not till after the 
descent into the regions of the headwaters of the 
Kara-say does one see this chain unfold itself with 
complete magnificence, beyond all expectation 
and conception. It is remarkable how little of 
tliis chain is hitherto known. Only Kaulbars has 
appreciated its significance. The peaks of this 
cliain, attaining possibly to a height of 19,500 ft. 
(0,000 m.) or more, display a beauty and boldness 
of structure, a ruggedness and variety in their snow 
mantles, that can be matched in but few parts 
of the Tian-Slian. One of these grand mountains 
was reckoned by Kaulbars to be the highest in 
the chain, and baptised by him Mount Catherine, 



of wliich I took a telephotographic likeness. It is, 
however, considerably exceeded in height by some 
mountains, towering farther to the west and others 
farther to the east in the same chain. No less 
surprising, especially in respect of neve and ice- 
covering, as well as extent of glaciers, is the 
Ak-shiriak chain, trending north-north-east. The 
traveller sees it continually to the east of him, 
while he pursues the road from the region of the 
head waters of the Kara-say to that of the Yak-tash. 
In this chain, which altogether attains a length 
of about thirty-three miles (fifty versts), but little 
rock is seen cropping out to view. The greatest 
part lies hidden under a cloak of firn and ice. 
The abnormal feature, however, in the case is 
this. The neve-covered slope and the course of 
the great glaciers — among which the fine Petroff 
glacier, with a length of thirteen miles and giving 
rise to the Yak-tash river, takes the first place — 
have a precisely western direction towards the 
Syrt plateau of Ak-bel, whereas the chain to the 
west of this plateau, the Yulushu chain, though 
its flanks are directed to the east, shows no 
glacier formation. In no part of the Northern 
Tian-Shan, in which, with but slight exceptions, 
the presence of snow and ice is uniformly depen- 
dent upon a northern and eastern exposure of 
slope, have I encountered on a large scale any 
instance of a like nature. An explanation of this 
phenomenon can only be found in the fact, that 
the moist winds have a prevalent bias in favour 
of certain directions. 



To the Ak-shiriak chain, whose peaks attain 
to only 15,400 ft. (4,500 m.), overtopping the Syrt 
platean by only 2,300—2,600 ft. 700—800 m.), 
falls the role of water-shed between Naryn and 
Sary-jass — i.e. between Syr-daria and Tarim. This 
role, however, it plays but defectively. Very 
much effaced is the watershed between the many- 
branched head-water region of the Kara-say in 
the west and the Ishtyk-su in the east, as well 
as the watershed between the Yak-tash, flowing 
westwards, and the Yir-tash, flowing eastwards. 
On the flat marshy Syrt plateaus, on which the 
rivers just mentioned take their rise, the waters 
from the surrounding glacier chains flow and 
trickle over the shingly fluvioglacial soil in all 
directions. They thus go to the formation of a 
large number of smaller and larger lakes, lying 
flatly embedded amid the greenery of the Alpine 
meadows, as also of extensive swamps. In this 
wide region the water courses ramify, change 
direction, and lose themselves in the swamps to 
such a degree that a demarcation of the terri- 
tories, drained by each respectively, would be 
involved in no small difficulties. How stagnant 
tliis domain is, may be gathered from the fact 
that in the beds of the uncommonly numerous 
and copious streams of the plateau hardly anything 
is to be found but fine gravel and sand. To drag 
any heavier material along with tliem surpasses 
the power of these lazy waters. The lower parts 
of the mountain chain are so wrapped in d(^bris, 
that the steeply inclined layers of limestone and 


slate frequently emerge out of the meadow-lands 
only a few yards above the debris. Everything 
here has aequired a soft, rounded form. At a 
remoter time, however, the streams from here 
obviously pursued a more energetie course through 
the valley. But the enormous masses of moraine 
debris, which the converging action of the glaciers, 
flowing in hither from all sides, piled up, got 
gradually washed away in all directions. This 
led to a general levelling and almost com- 
plete efFacement of relief. And hence to-day 
the water-shed between east and west, be- 
tween south and north, seems hardly any longer 

In the head water region of the Kara-say and 
in the immediate neighbourhood of the glaciers, 
at a height of about 12,000 ft. (3,700 m.)— that 
is, somewhat higher than the locality near the 
Chatyr-kid lake, where MushketofF first found 
them, tertiary red sandstones and conglomerates 
were observed. These were further to be detected 
at a greater distance westwards on the slope of 
the Jitim-Tau, at an approximately equal height. 
One can hardly be wrong in concluding, that 
these strata w^ere deposited in large mountain 
lakes, which at one time lay embedded here, 
lasting for long geological periods, and of which 
the numerous tarns, that dot the plateau at the 
present day, are the remains. The walls surround- 
ing the valleys, taken in a broader sense, both 
of Kara-say and of Yak-tash, are built of granites 
of very different character. Between the Ishtyk 


pass and the Kara-say Herr Keidel found in the 
calcareous chffs Devonian fossils. 

The route we pursued does not coincide entirely 
with that followed by the caravans, and from the 
head waters of the Yak-tash it diverged altogether 
from the caravan route. Whereas the caravans 
take thence a north-west direction and avail 
themselves of the easy Barskoun pass to cross the 
Terskei-Ala-Tau chain, we turned out of the 
Uechy valley (12,000 ft. ; 3,650 m.), a feeder of 
the Yak-tash, towards the north, and crossed 
the difficult Souka pass (14,000 ft; 4,250 m.) 
AVhereas the approach to the south side of 
this Terskei-Ala-Tau and to the passes which 
cross it is, at any point along sixty miles of 
its length, easily accomplished over the gradual 
slope of the Spl plateaux, the northern side of 
the chain falls away very steeply to the Issyk Kul 

From the high plateau, rising up to the east 
above the Uechy valley, there is a grand view 
of the enormous wall of the Terskei- (or Kirghiz-) 
Ala-Tau. The important glacier system, adorning 
even the south side of this mountain chain, far 
exceeded my expectations. The very extensive 
phitcaux forming the waterparting ridge, lie 
under a continuous and immense sheet of ice. 
The higli peaks, some of them mounting to about 
18,000 ft. (5,500 m.), are dressed in beautiful 
glacier mantles, whose terminal tongues reach 
far into the Syrt. ^Vll this was fixed in tele- 
photographic views. The southern edge of the 


chain consists, as already related, in great part 
of plateaux, and comparatively few peaks overtop 
these crestforming glaciated expanses, which, how- 
ever, are intersected at intervals by deep breaches. 
The western part of the chain, adjoining the passes 
of Kerege-tash and Tosor, and the most easterly 
part, constitute the exceptions to this character. 
There the relief shows very important, boldly 
shaped peaks. In the central part, therefore, 
on the south side, plateau-formation prevails. The 
rim of the ranges towards the north slope, on the 
contrary, appears resolved into an almost uninter- 
rupted series of firn-covered peaks, displaying the 
richest variety of forms and the utmost steepness. 
The defile of the Souka pass cuts through the 
mighty chain at a place where, on both sides of the 
pass-route, tlie eye lights on magnificent mountain 
scenery. On the west side, more particularly, 
important glaciers empty into the trough of the 
defile. The ascent of the pass was a severe 
strain for the caravan ; still more severe was the 
descent on the north. At a slight depth below 
the summit of the pass one reaches a lake of 
complicated outline, which was then frozen, 
embedded in a valley, or rather, hollow, between 
the promontoried slopes of a girdle of bold, 
ice-clad peaks. Out of the intervening gorges 
glaciers are seen, pushing their riven tongues 
into the bays of the lake. It is a splendid 
spectacle. At the time, however, when we 
crossed the lake, the deep mantle of snow, cover- 
ing the ice, and the ice itself, were both very 


much softened, and the passage with the caravan 
was hazardous. The day before, a Kirghiz cara- 
van on its way up to the pasturing places of the 
Kara-say here lost some hundreds of sheep. The 
wildness and magnificence of this mountain region 
is exceeded in the Tian-Shan only by the moun- 
tains bordering the Inylchek glacier. 

On the south side of the pass dark limestones 
are the prevalent constituent in the enclosing 
mountain walls, and they assume a schistose char- 
acter. On the pass itself there extends a thick 
granite zone, consisting of granites of very varied 

Towards the north there next follows a series 
of dark, highly metamorphic, argillaceous slates, 
and thereafter again come the dark limestones. 
IMiereupon granite appears, with crystalline slates, 
as alone predominant, constituting the environing 
walls of the valley as far as the neighbourhood 
of Lake Issyk Kul. The descent from the pass, 
across steep declivities, over enormous accumu- 
lations of moraine-debris and rock-fragments, is 
not easy, but tlic engirdling mountains are splendid, 
as is also tlie \alley itself The wealtli of form 
ill the c!ivironing walls of the principal valley, 
the magnificent glacier scenery of the lateral 
\ alleys, tlie richness of wood, water, and Alpine 
meadows, all unite hi distinguishing the Suka 
\allcy as one of the grandest Alpine valleys of 
llic Tian-Shan. 

/\ cliaui of very varied form, carrying small 
glaciers, and nmuiiig in front of the main range 


of the Terskei-Ala-Tau, parallel to it, is not 
entered in the forty-verst map. 

Masses of ancient and now green-mantled 
moraine-debris form the varied floor of the outer 
valley. These masses, which are there spread 
out far and wide by the action of water, reach 
near to the south shore of Lake Issyk Kul. Old 
terminal moraine-walls are found in the middle 
part of the Souka valley. In the anterior part 
they still attain a \'ery considerable height, and 
so completely block the valley, that the track is 
carried over them. Behind them there formerly 
lay lakes. Also, the lower course of the valley, 
through the mountain chain, once held a lake, and 
that of very great compass ; there the river now 
breaks through huge banks of loose, red tertiary 
sandstones, which are overlaid by considerable 
accumulations of younger moraine-debris. In 
these, two ancient river-terraces are visible ; they 
follow the lower course of the river, where a third 
terrace is in process of formation. 

The crossing of the mountain chain from south 
to north took us seven days. On July 9th we 
arrived at Slivkina, now Pokhrovskaya, on the 
south shore of the Issyk Kul, and proceeded 
thence to Przhevalsk and Karkara. Though some 
objects in our programme were only half effected, 
or altogether untouched, the investigations on the 
south side of the great chain had nevertheless 
consumed more than the anticipated time. In 
view, therefore, of the fiir-advanced summer, I 
was under apprehensions that the indispensable 


labours on the north side might fail of satisfactory 
completion, especially should the weather prove as 
unfavourable for exploration as had been the case 
the previous summer. However, I may as well 
say at once that these apprehensions were happily 
not realised. Steady weather, such as, according 
to the reports of the natives, is seldom experienced 
in these regions, favoured my investigations, and 
allowed the prosecution of my work in the 
mountain chain till towards the end of the year. 
JMuch, therefore, if not all, which I had set my 
heart on doing, I was able to accomplish in a 
satisfactory manner. 

Not to swell this report, which has already 
assumed unexpected dimensions — to a compass 
which might impede the printing of it, I am 
unfortunately under the necessity of restricting the 
account of the further progress of the expedition, 
and of its very important and fruitful labours, to 
a mere cursory re\dew. 




In Karkara and Narynkol (Okhotnichi) it became 
necessary to organise the expedition with a view to 
a sojourn in the highest regioiis of the mountain 
chain, and in order more particularly to establish 
its commissariat on a sound basis, I had to engage 
suitable porters in sufficient number, and to buy 
fresh horses and many other necessaries. Herr 
Keidel, meantime, with a part of the expedi- 
tion, made his way through the valley of Ulluk- 
Karkara, and crossed the Sart-jol pass (12,200 ft. ; 
3,720 m.) into the Kok-jar valley, which in its 
upper course is known as Kuberganty. There and 
in its lateral valleys he was to pursue geological 
explorations. He there collected a fauna of the 
lower carboniferous formation. Thence he next 
crossed the Kashka-tyr pass (12,000 ft. ; 3,700 m.), 
and entered the Sary-jass valley. Near the 
mouth of the Myn-tyr valley he marked off a 
basis about a mile long, which he fixed by geo- 
graphical determination, and thence he once more 
fixed the height and position of Khan-Tengri 
and the most important peaks surrounding it. 
After precise calculation of these data, and those 



of the measurements of Herr Pfann, taken the 
previous year from a different basis {vide p. 42), 
I shall be able to produce trustworthy figures 
in respect of the height and situation of the 
culminating peak. 

AVith the bulk of the expedition I set off from 
Narynkol on July 19th, made my way through 
the great Kapkak valley, which I have already 
cursorily described, crossed the Kapkak pass, and 
at once turned in the direction of the upper 
course of the Sary-jass, where, a little below the 
snout of the SemenofF glacier, I ordered the 
principal encampment to be set up. The first 
and most important task for me was to procure 
compensation for the heaviest loss of the fore- 
going year {vide p. 83) and in thirteen sheets of 
the size of 8 by 10 English inches, replace the 
great telephotographic panorama of the Central 
Tian-Shan, which had then been taken from a 
standpoint admirably fitted for the purpose. 

After a few days' rainy weather, we were 
favoured by a calm, accompanied by clear atmo- 
sphere, and the work was eminently successful. 
Meanwliile, triangulating upwards from his basis, 
Mcrr Kcidel had likewise arrived at the chief 
encampment, and then began to lay the triangular 
network farther above the Semenoff glacier. 
In nine days lie completed this work, which 
at last, and just at the highest part of the 
glacier, M'as \'cry much impeded by bad weather. 
'I'he topogniphic detail was secured by plioto- 
granunetric \ icws. This period of time I turned 


to account in making a closer investigation of the 
main glacier and its most important tributaries. 
From a bivouac situated thirteen miles (twenty 
versts) up the glacier, and standing about 13,000 ft. 
(3,950 m.) high, between two moraine lakes on 
the right moraine bank, I penetrated into a wide 
ice-valley running eastwards. I climbed up its 
broad, neve-covered saddle (14,400 ft. ; 4,400 m.), 
which I had nearly approached {vide p. 80) the 
year before, when going up the western Bayumkol 
glacier. It gives access to the highest neve of the 
last-named glacier, and I accordingly name it the 
Bayumkol pass. The exceptionally favourable 
condition of the firn covering induced me to climb 
also a snow-clad summit to the north of the pass, 
rising to a height of about 15,400 ft. (4,700 m.). 

From both heights I obtained w^elcome additions 
to the previous year's observations on the structure 
of the walls, enclosing the Bayumkol valley, and 
thus, encircling the SemenofF and Mushketoff 
glaciers, all of which were recorded in a number 
of views and panoramas. 

From a bivouac on the middle moraine of the 
chief glacier (12,500 ft. ; 3,800 m.), some ten and a 
half miles (sixteen versts) from its tongue, I made 
the ascent of a peak, rising on the south edge of 
the Semenoff' glacier to a height approximately of 
15,700 ft. (4,800 m.). Its situation is particularly 
favourable for the observation of the south-western 
slope of the pyramid of Khan-Tengri. It also 
afforded instructive insight into the structure of 
the grand group of mountains, ranged immediately 


in front, on the south-western side of Khan-Tengri, 
as also of the lateral ice-valleys of the main glacier, 
which have their outlet in the neighbourhood. 
By means of the large apparatus, carried to so 
commanding a height, I was able to take a number 
of instructive telephotographic views. 

The most considerable affluent, which the main 
glacier receives fi'om the south debouches from a 
magnificent valley of about half a mile broad, 
exactly at the point, where the axis of the main 
glacier bends farthest to the south. Hence this 
lateral valley penetrates the most deeply into the 
mountain chain towering up on the south. Push- 
ing forward into this valley, the bordering ranges 
of which are extremely grand — not a spot of bare 
rock to be seen on their slopes — and reaching a gap 
some 15,000 ft. (4,G00 m.) high in the ice-wall 
of its western rim, I was able to inform myself 
respecting the course of the great lateral ice- valleys, 
which branch off from the lower part of the 
main glacier, and, bending with a sharp curve 
from south to east, thus interpose between the 
SemenofF and MushketofF glaciers. From these, 
and other forays in all directions along and across 
the ice of the SemenofF glacier, I was able to 
collect a store of important information, concerning 
this central nev^-basin and its connection with 
the surrounding valleys. But for all that, I had 
not yet got a reliable answer to the question, out 
of which valley rises the terminal cone of Khan- 
Tcngri ? 

Having completed his survey of the SemenofF 


glacier, Herr Keidel, on August 7th, started on 
his homeward journey. His military duty called 
him back to the fatherland. 

I continued my exploratory journey alone, and 
betook myself to the Adyr-tyr valley. The next 
task devolving on me was to make a complete 
circuit of the JNlushketoff glacier, to make a 
survey of it, and to determine its connection with 
tlie SemenofF glacier. This was accomphshed 
in the course of a week. And included in this 
task was the ascent of a peak 15,400 ft. high 
(4,700 m.), on the north edge of the glacier, from 
the summit of which a panoramic view was taken 
of the magnificent southern wall of the glacier. 

Of the INIushketofF glacier I can here only 
hurriedly cite a few elementary features. From 
its tongue, which ends at about 11,400 ft. 
(3,480 m.)— that is, some 390 ft. (120 m.) lower 
than that of the SemenofF glacier — up to its origin 
in the neve -basin of the SemenofF glacier, the 
JNIushketofF glacier has, according to my deter- 
minations, a length of approximately thirteen miles 
(twenty versts). It is, therefore, much longer than 
IgnatiefF estimated it — namely, five miles (eight 
versts). The lower part of the glacier is so thickly 
covered with debris masses, that hardly a bit of ice 
crops through them. Only three to four miles 
farther up does the ice become free ; its surface is 
there very humpy, and torn in a most extraordinary 
manner, whilst it is also bare of snow. In its 
last third, however, the ice becomes fairly well 
closed, and bears a shght snow-mantle. The total 


fall of the glacier is indeed slight, but neverthe- 
less greater than that of the Semenoff glacier. 
As in the case of the latter, its main stream 
does not issue from the end of its snout. The 
slope of the surface of the glacier towards the 
northern bank, the cause of which I have pre- 
viously referred to {vide p. 47), causes its main 
efflux to issue from the precipitous north slope of 
the tongue. Between this and the mountain wall 
at the side there runs a deep trench, through part 
of which the glacier-stream runs with rapid current. 
The slopes are there almost free from snow, but 
wholly covered with debris and blocks of rock. At 
their base there stretches, for at least eight miles 
(twelve versts) into the region of ice, an irregular, 
often interrupted girdle of grass banks with a 
fine Alpine flora. The whole of this northern 
wall, broken by no valley indentation, bears only 
on its highest ridge and on the peaks the ornament 
of firn and ice. On the other hand, the wall 
bounding the glacier on the south side and 
separating it from the Inylchek glacier, presents 
quite a wonderful chain of ice-peaks, far surpassing 
in height and wealth of form the engirdling 
southern wall of the Semenoff glacier. Its snowy 
mantle is rarely pierced by a particle of rock. 

Several of these peaks count among the most 
magniflcent and higliest of tlie Central Tian-Shan. 
Their height was determined both from Pfann's 
and from Keidel's basis. Out of high valleys 
between the single peaks descend exceedingly steep 
and much-crevassed glaciers, which debouche 


with beautifully curved terminal tongues into the 
main glacier. They affect the ice-covering of 
the main glacier in a curious way, producing 
great irregularity and ruggedness on its surface. 
In the middle part of the glacier are fifteen to 
twenty ice-lakes of various sizes, green in colour 
and quite irregularly distributed. Throughout the 
half of its lower course, the glacier has an average 
breadth of fully three-fifths of a mile (one verst). 
It then gradually widens till, in its last third, it 
attains a width of two to two and a quarter miles 
(three to three and a half versts). There it is 
separated from the Semenoff glacier — i.e. its lateral 
valleys — only by that low, broad wall, previously 
spoken of {vide p. 56 et seq.), crowned by blunt, 
snow-capped domes and traversed by the Mushke- 
toff pass (14,400 ft. ; 4,400 m.). This wall runs 
gradually out into the neve-basin common to the 
two great glaciers, a basin in no respect connected 
with Khan-Tengri, and to this fact all hitherto 
eocisting assumptions have to be adjusted. Gigantic 
mountain- walls interpose between it and Khan- 
Tengri, a fact already disclosed by the results of 
the previous year's investigations. 

The rocks constituting the environing walls are 
the same as in the case of the SemenofF glacier : 
an irregular series of dark argillaceous slates, 
phyllitic slates, and dark and pale limestones, filled 
with fossils, which on account of severe pressure 
are no longer identifiable, alternating with gneiss, 
granite, dark argillaceous slates of different char- 
acter, and light striped marbles. There is frequent 


alternation, but unfortunately the stratigraphic 
relations are not determinable. Just as on the 
southern wall of the Semenoff glacier the whole 
series lies completely buried under firn and ice, also 
here ; on the northern wall, where snow and ice 
recede, the series is everywhere covered with a 
chaos of shingle and debris. 

In this valley, too, from which I had the privi- 
lege of beholding the pyi'amidal peak of Khan- 
Tengri grandly displayed, I obtained no full 
assurance as to its situation. I was, however, 
more than ever confirmed in the assumption that 
its basis must be found in the Inylchek valley. 
Of all the great glaciers of the Central Tian- 
Shan that I have \'isited, the JNIushketoff glacier is 
the only one, which shows unmistakable signs of 
recent retreat. 




Our next goal was the Tnylchek valley. Being 
this time aware of its inhospitable nature, and 
thus prepared for all contingencies, and further- 
more provided with the indispensable number of 
stout porters, I hoped our operations would prove 
more fruitful this year than the last. On this 
depended our chance of getting to the very base 
of Khan-Tengri. 

As already stated {vide p. 76), I had, the pre- 
vious year, when I visited the high plateau 
between Tys-ashu and Sary-jass in company with 
Herr Pfann, seen from thence the final cone of 
Khan-Tengri raised far higher out of its surround- 
ings, than from any other point, even at a greater 
altitude. As I hoped, somewhere in the region of 
that plateau, to find some still more favourable 
spot for an examination of the ranges grouped 
round Khan-Tengri, I sent the caravan by the 
valley route to the Tys-ashu valley, while I with a 
small party turned westwards. Ascending the low- 
browed ridge, forming the margin of the Adyi'-tyr 
middle course, and crossing its crowning plateau, I 

m 13 


traversed the upper Jam-tama valley and its western 
border, and thus reached the deeply eroded valleys 
of the head waters of the Kusgun-ya {vide p. 62). 
Neither these nor the pre\dously-mentioned valley 
are shown on the maps, as I pointed out when 
describing the Tys-ashu valley. They have their 
sources in the south-east and south-south-east, in 
the broad, shallow, lofty neve-basins, stretching 
between the southern border of the INIushketoff 
glacier and the northern chain of the Inylchek 
valley, and debouclie northwards in the Sary-jass. 
At the head of the Kusgun-ya valley I mounted 
a high dome (about 12,300 ft. ; 3,750 m.), and 
beheld due east of me the pyramidal summit of 
Khan-Tengri, towering high above the surround- 
ing ranges. Here I commanded a full view of 
the black belt, which at the foot of the summit 
proper encircles the west and north-west flanks 
of the mountain, and which I had already partly 
seen from other points. Close to it was also 
visible a broad black ridge, both belt and ridge 
contrasting sharply with the light-coloured pyra- 
midal summit. Not till later was I able to 
determine the true character of this interstratified 
black formation. 

North-east of Khan-Tengri I noticed, for the 
first time, a sharp snowy peak, which was evidently 
higher even than the giants, rising in the angle 
between the Bayumkol and SemenofF glaciers. 
'J'iiis summit seemed to shoot up out of a range, 
radiating in an east-north-easterly direction from 
Khaii-Tcngri. Hence, I had to assume that, be- 


tween this range and another, running parallel 
with it, a valley intervened, which, leading from 
the foot of Khan-Tengri, followed the direction 
of that range — that is, to the east or south-east. 
In this case the snowfields of the culminating 
summit might possibly not drain at all to the 
west, so that perhaps it would be useless to try 
to approach the summit from this direction. But 
in case some valley really did drain those vast 
fields of neve in an easterly direction, which 
of the streams, seen in all my wanderings, 
was copious enough to be its outlet and 
where does it debouche ? In the northern, or 
more probably in the southern, Musart valley ? 
I surely must have noticed such a voluminous 
affluent, did it enter either of those valleys. But 
if, after all, there exists drainage from Khan- 
Tengri to the west, does it flow through the 
channel of the Inylchek, or through that of the 
large parallel Kayndy valley, stretching still more 
to the south ? These were the problems which 
pressed upon me. Doubtless, from aU sides one 
may see the gigantic final pyramid of the cul- 
minating summit of the Tian-Shan system. It 
is seen towering some 3,300 ft. (1,000 m.) above all 
the surrounding ranges, although, owing to the 
defective character of all extant maps, one is 
unable to say from which of the many diverging 
valleys it shoots upwards. Thus my second 
summer in the Tian-Shan was drawing to a close, 
while the main problem was still shrouded in 
mystery. On the possibihty of ascending the 


Inylchek glacier to its source, might depend the 
sohition of the puzzle. 

After tfiking a telephotographic view of the 
giant peak and of the chains encircling it, I 
descended into the western branch of the Kusgun- 
ya valley, and ascended nearly to the same height 
on the Tur plateau, where I made additional 
surveys, and then hastened down to the Tys- 
ashu valley, where I again joined the caravan. 

In the Kusgun-ya valley I was able to determine 
the intrusion of diabasic rocks, which had calcined 
red and fritted the environing limestones, exactly 
as I had noticed the previous year in the neigh- 
bourhood of the Tys-ashu pass {vide p. 65). 

The caravan crossed this pass, which I now also 
preferred as the shortest way to the Inylchek 
valley, though not without serious difficulties. 
It was alone due to the heroic co-operation of all 
my people that no serious mishap occurred on 
the glacier of the pass, which was in a very bad 
condition. On the south side, while still high up 
the pass, we were detained two days by snow- 
storms before it was possible to make our way 
down to the valley. Two miles (three ^ersts) 
l)elow the tongue of the glacier ice I established 
our headquarters, this time on the right bank. 

The difficult task of traversing the huge glacier 
was at once taken in hand. I first of all set up 
a store of provisions about six and a half miles (ten 
vcrsts) up the glacier, and then moved up the en- 
campment from post to post. Owing to the great 
obstacles, presented by the mountains of boulder 


drijpt encumbering the surface of the ice, as already 
described, we made but slow progress on the 
lower course of the huge ice-stream. To under- 
stand what follows, I must here return, however 
briefly, to the observations made the previous 
year: After covering about two miles (three versts) 
on the glacier, one sees rising, far ahead, out of the 
ice-field, a high, dark, and massive buttress, which 
divides the glacier into two branches, a narrower 
northern one, and a much broader southern one. 
It was soon seen, that this rocky buttress could 
not be merely the wall of some isolated eminence 
rising out of the glacier, since its brow was sur- 
mounted by snowy crests, rising behind it. Hence 
the black buttress was evidently the abrupt 
escarpment of a mountain range, branching off 
somewhere from the confining ranges of the 
Inylchek glacier valley, and projecting south-west- 
wards into the broad ice-field. Advancing about 
500 yds. (half a verst) farther, and looking up the 
slope of the glacier, we perceived the pyramidal 
top of Khan-Tengri to the left of, but far 
beyond, the dark escarpment, without being able 
to ascertain with certainty how far beyond, or to 
say from what range it springs. A few hundred 
steps farther, and the interesting picture has again 
vanished. Still, it seemed highly probable that, 
if we succeeded in penetrating into the northern 
branch of the glacier valley, we should necessarily 
get near to the basis of the pyramid, whether it 
rose there at the head of the valley, on the water- 
shed, or in some intersecting side-valley. On 


this I based my plan, and felt confident that it 
must succeed, if only the weather proved 

At that time I was not yet aware that Khan- 
Tengri could also be sighted farther out, in the 
upper middle course of the Inylchek valley. Nor 
would the fact have helped, since, owing to the 
peculiar shifting of the bounding ranges, the view 
from that quarter would afford no certain clue to 
the real position of the mountain. 

I next shifted the camp on to the (orographical) 
left margin of the glacier, so far up (about ten and 
a half miles fi'om its lower end) that we found 
ourselves just opposite the southern termination 
of the intervening range. Here I could satisfy 
myself for the first time of the important fact, 
that this was a very considerable mountain massif, 
a quite compact spur, which must evidently 
branch off from the ridge forming the head of 
the valley — that is, from the main water-dividing 
range trending eastwards. Out of the plateau- 
shaped crest of the imposing intervening range, 
one could now see cropping up some rugged, 
lofty, and snowy summits ; but here nothing more 
was to be seen of Khan-Tengri. 

Tlic material of which this great intervening 
range is built up, is the same as that of the main 
cliains flanking the glacier. First of all, a narrow 
belt of pliyllitic and sericitic schists of varied char- 
acter ; then (hu'k and coloured clay-schists, diversely 
nictainorplioscd, extremely pressed and crushed 
out ; then light and dark limestones ; further on 

I.AKK KARA-KUL-SAY— ABOUT 11,150 I'T. (SEi; P. 260). 


[To face p. 198. 


lamellated, sandy-clay strata, whose nature and 
coloiu" are constantly changing ; again, dark lime- 
stones, and lastly white and striped marble. With 
all its clearness of arrangement as a whole, this 
vast stratified system shows in places the greatest 
irregularity, disorder, and tremendous disturbance. 
Old crystalline rocks are to be seen neither in 
the central massif nor in the border-ranges. The 
limestones have been greatly metamorphosed and 
in several beds occur very numerous organic 
remains, changed to silicates, but nothing that 
can be clearly identified. At the mouths, how- 
ever, of some lateral valleys I was able to detect 
some lower carboniferous fossils in the fragments 
of limestone drift brought down by the ice. 

AMiere it is not yet divided by the middle 
range, the glacial valley has a breadth of from two 
and a half to three miles, and farther on, where 
it is no longer covered with boulder drift, it is 
traversed lengthwise by five parallel moraines. 
Even in these no fragments of primitive rocks 
are to be seen. All the more surprising is the 
occurrence of an exceptionally huge granite 
moraine on the left margin, which was followed 
by our ascent. This moraine girdle consists ex- 
clusively of blocks of light-coloured granite of 
varied structure, and pegmatite, often of quite 
colossal dimensions. Almost from the tongue-end 
of the glacier up to this point — that is, at least 
ten miles (fifteen versts) — it formed the left margin 
of the glacier, and of all the morainic beds of 
the main glacier is by far the largest. ^Vhence 


came all these masses of granite drift, since here 
in the valley no granite occurs anywhere ? 

From the camp on the left edge of the glacier, 
where the slopes of the old bank-moraines, facing 
northwards still bear a thick carpet of herbage 
in spite of their position so far within the realm 
of ice, an attempt was now made to penetrate up 
the northern branch of the glacier. Where the 
middle range divides the enormous ice-field it is 
very uneven, and unusually crevassed, owing to 
compression against the cliffs. The crossing was 
difficult, and when at last we approached the 
entrance of the northern glacial valley, we found 
ourselves suddenly confronted by a wide de- 
pression, which liad hitherto been hidden by the 
ridges and furrows of the glacier's broad back. It 
stood at a level of about 11,800 ft. (3,600 m.), 
and was filled with an icy lake, in whose blue 
waters floated thousands of tiny icebergs and fi-ozen 
blocks in every shape and form — altogether a 
magnificent sight. 

Tlic lake extends for three-quarters of a mile 
across to the opposite bank, where the splendid 
picture ends in a very high and picturesque, 
l)old peak, whicli springs from the dividing ridge 
between the JSIushketofF and Inylchek glaciers. 
My admiration, however, soon yielded to a 
feeling of disappointment. Tlie lake was found 
to be enclosed on both sides by precipitous rocky 
walls, about :3,900 ft. (1,200 m.) high, which 
descend close to the water's edge. Attempts were 
made both on the north and south side to 


clamber round these walls, and thus to turn the 
lake, but all in vain. The lake stretches for 
about two and a half miles (four versts) into the 
northern branch of the glacier, which here averages 
three-quarters of a mile in breadth, and would 
probably have offered no further obstacles to the 
passage over its surface. Owing to the northerly 
bend of the southern flank of the valley, here, 
too, no view could be had of Khan-Tengri. But 
the dazzling white SemenofF peak could be seen, 
rising quite in the background of the long ice- 
valley or even still farther back. As we had 
hitherto always seen Khan-Tengri to the south- 
west of this peak, there could no longer be any 
doubt, that the base of Khan-Tengri must be 
reached through this glacier valley. Thus, the 
goal which I had so long yearned for and 
struggled to gain seemed now near at hand, yet 
could not be reached. At this I was naturally 
much disheartened. 

The only possibility of penetrating into the 
valley was by crossing the range on the 
southern side — that is, the middle range. For 
this two days would be required, and so difficult 
an undertaking coidd never be carried out with 
heavily laden porters. But without a supply of 
provisions and the most indispensable camp 
requisites, it was not advisable to penetrate into a 
glacier valley, which apparently extended at least 
thirty versts farther to the north-east. The 
additional supplies would also have to be for- 
warded by the same difficult route, since under 


the most favourable circumstances we could not 
get back under six days. Hence the attempt had 
to be given up, and with it my project seemed 
to be once more defeated, as in the previous year. 
But it was now made quite clear that the mystery 
of Khan-Tengri would really have been solved on 
that occasion in the previous year, had not the 
ascent of the snowy peak on the southern border 
of the INIushketofF glacier been thwarted by the 
avalanche when within a few feet of the summit 
{vide p. 57). But, despite all adverse circumstances, 
I was determined not to give the matter up. 

In order to settle the question, as to whether 
the base of the monarch of the Tian-Shan might 
not also be reached from the southern branch 
of the Inylchek glacier, we ascended a peak on 
its left bank from 16,400 to 18,000 ft. (5,000— 
5,500 m.) high as far as its shoulder, a sort of 
platform about 14,700 ft. (4,500 m.) high. This 
projecting ledge presented an excellent standpoint 
for overlooking and taking telephotographic and 
ordinary views of all the enclosing ranges of 
the vast glacial basin, with the middle range, the 
icy lake, etc. I must here point out, that the 
chain, skirting tlie INIushketolf glacier on its south 
side — that is, the chain on the north side of the 
luylclick glacier — also presents on its southern 
slopes the aspect of an almost uninterrupted 
mantle of ice and snow, not indeed, from crest 
to l)ase, as on its northern slope, but at any rate 
down to half its height, and, seen even from this 
position, it produces a profound impression from 


the grandeur of its mountain forms. Especially 
valuable to me was tlie discovery that, far beyond 
the point at which the glacier again describes a 
sharp bend to the north-east, there rose the 
upper portion of a snowy pyramid, which, from 
its form and aspect, could only be the summit 
of Khan-Tengri, and consequently, that its base 
must also be reached through the southern 
glacier valley. INIoreover, from the trend of the 
moraines, traversing the broad ice-fields in curved 
lines, it could be quite clearly perceived, that 
archaean rocks do not enter into the structure of 
the culminating peak, nor of the most elevated 
section of the Tian-Shan at all. The light- 
coloured granite moraine, sharply distinguished 
from the neighbouring dark moraines, could now 
be followed only for some eight miles (twelve 
versts) farther up the left margin of the glacier, 
where it abruptly terminates at the mouth of a 
lateral valley. Hence the granite masses could 
only have been derived from this lateral valley. 

Tlie essential point now was to push forward, 
in order accurately to corroborate all these new 
facts by completely surveying the further course 
of the glacier, the extent of which so greatly ex- 
ceeded all previous assumptions. JVIy supplies 
were, however, limited, the distance from head- 
quarters considerable, communication difficult, 
the weather unsettled and doubtful. Hence the 
work had to be done rapidly if at all. With a 
tremendous effort the camp was moved some 
thirteen miles (twenty versts) farther up the 


glacier, where I was able to grant a respite to 
the almost exhausted porters, with the intention 
of then pushing on alone with the two Tyrolese. 
On the way up from the forking of the valley 
we soon reached a portion of the glacier unen- 
cumbered with drift, showing only at unequal 
inter\'als the dark lines of the three medial and 
two lateral moraines. In each of these moraines 
different materials prevail. As already stated, the 
light-coloured granitic moraine on the left margin 
accompanied our route only for about eight miles 
(twelve versts) more. Here the mountain rampart 
is pierced by a glacial valley about three-quarters 
of a mile (one verst) broad, with a perfectly level 
surface (height at confluence about 12,600 ft. ; 
3,850 m.). Very imposing are the icy walls en- 
closing this valley, but not an inch of bare rock 
is to be seen, to account for the mass of granite 
debris in the moraine. But at its head the walls 
fall away suddenly, and just beyond there seems 
to be a large, longitudinal valley, running parallel, 
with the Inylchek. From the information here 
obtained I could at that time only take it for 
the Kayndy valley. Yet it seemed strange and 
hard to explain, that, immediately to the west 
of the granite-bearing side-valley, and branching 
south-westwards towards the parallel valley, a 
ridge cro-vvned by a large snowy plateau should 
be seen projecting from the dividing range be- 
tween the two main valleys out into the glacier 
of tlie next parallel valley. My standpoint was 
too low, to allow me to follow the course of this 


ridge for more than a short distance. Hence I 
did not reahse the part played by it until I 
visited the Kayndy valley. As the huge masses 
of granitic deposits — in the main valley alone 
the moraine has already a length of about 
seventeen miles (twenty-six versts) — come ex- 
clusively from this lateral valley, I necessarily 
inferred the existence of a large granite massif 
in the parallel valley. In the immediately 
following moraine light grey limestones prevail ; 
in the next, dark schists, intermingled with marble ; 
in the fourth, marble almost exclusively, in blocks 
sometimes of huge size ; lastly, in the right lateral 
moraine, dark eruptive rocks, about which I shall 
have more to say presently. From the distribution 
of the rocky elements it was to be inferred that 
each of these moraines had its source in a mountain 
recess, where a distinct formation prevailed. 

The chief glacier, which so far had already a 
breadth of over two miles (three versts), expands 
here to about four versts. The chain on the right 
margin — that is, the middle range dividing the 
valley — is intersected by no transverse valleys, and 
furrowed only by gullies high up. On the other 
hand, in the range on the left bank, valley succeeds 
to valley, each enclosing magnificent, extensive 
glaciers. By the pressure of these lateral glaciers, 
the ice of the chief glacier has here been pent up 
and tossed into chaotic crevasses. We were thus 
driven to the right side, Avhere crevasses were 
certainly not lacking, but where they could be 
turned. Here the ice was disposed in hillocks. 


chiefly through irregular thawing, due to the 
unequal distribution of the overlying detritus, and 
partly through the erosion of water-currents. 

In the range on the right side, there now 
appear extended walls of almost black eruptive 
matter, stai^ding out sharply in a long series 
from the light-coloured schists and marble declivi- 
ties. These are interstratified masses of highly 
metamorphic rock, which are doubtless well 
developed also on the southern margin, as I was 
able actually to notice in a few places. But on 
that side most of the formations are hidden beneath 
the almost unbroken snow and ice mantle of the 
slopes, there facing northwards. It is scarcely 
possible to form an adequate idea of the endlessly 
varied outlines and grandeur of the crests, which 
rise above this almost uninterrupted glacial ram- 
part. It is of very considerable breadth, and 
divided into several ridges by trough-shaped high 

To judge from the altitude of the very numerous 
glacier tables, consisting mostly of large marble 
slabs, the whole thickness of ice, melted during 
the summer, was no more than three to five 
feet — a quantity easily replaced by the winter, 
which lasts from seven to eight months in this 
region. The shortness of the summer season, 
lasting at most three months, the enormous extent 
of tlie glacier, its slight incline (only 140 ft. per 
mile), the immense accumulation of snow on the 
border-ranges, encircling the upper glacial basin, 
and, histly, the thick covering of detritus on 


its lower course, explain the stability of this ice- 

Whether I should reach Khaii-Tengri now 
depended on the projected advance, which I had 
determined to make with the two Tyrolese from 
the last elevated encampment. Only a few 
miles higher up we entered upon an unbroken 
icefield, with a very gentle incline, and covered 
with an almost firm and nearly level coating of 
snow. These conditions enabled us to push 
very rapidly forward on the glacier — here about 
two miles (three versts) broad, and penetrating 
deeply into the heart of the frozen mountains. As 
far as the eye could reach all was dazzling white ; 
from the wall on the right margin alone there 
projected sharply a dark, rocky bluff, standing out 
boldly in the almost arctic landscape, and con- 
cealing what lay beyond. Should we there find 
the long sought for Khan-Tengri ? The range 
on the left side, too, assumes, northwards of the 
wide granite-bearing lateral valley, more and more 
the form of a luassif, to which a series of high- 
lying comes and valleys gives a remarkably 
diversified configuration. Extraordinary masses of 
nev^ are here stored up, while picturesque glaciers 
descend thence to the valley. The entirely 
glaciated range, which apparently closes the head 
of the valley, branches into two spurs, which at 
first run parallel, but one of which soon turns east, 
the other east-south-east. Thus here, too, as so 
often elsewhere, we have a two- fold conformation. 
We had now been traversing the icefield for 


nearly fi^•e hours at high speed ; the enclosing 
escarpments began to fall away ; the lateral 
glacial valleys grew shorter, broader, mostly 
rounded off at their heads, and still the dark 
bluff mysteriously concealed the riddle of Khan- 
Tengri from our prying eyes. Then, suddenly, 
something white began to assume prominence 
behind the black edge of the promontory — 
nothing yet very conspicuous, but with every 
step forward the w^hite object grew bigger and 
bigger. A fine snowy summit, glittering in the 
sun, appeared aloft, colossal white marble buttresses 
projecting from it ; a few steps farther, and a huge 
pyramid stood out freely, its base also soon 
coming into view. The giant mountain, the 
monarch of the Tian-Shan, revealed himself to 
my enraptured gaze in all his naked majesty, from 
his feet, rooted in the glacier ice, up to his crown, 
wrapt in sunlit shifting mists. Nothing whatever 
intervened to conceal any part of the so long 
mysteriously masked base of the mountain. I found 
myself standing close to its southern foot, and con- 
templated in wonder, wdth amazed and searching 
glance, the sublime spectacle. The strain of the 
last few weeks, which had at last grown almost 
unbearable, was relieved in an instant ; the goal 
had been reached, which I had eagerly struggled 
for with all the strengtli of mind and will. My 
feelings at that moment baffled all description. 

I know of no other great mountain that is so 
completely cast in a single unbroken mould, so 
evenly scarped, without shoulder or arete from its 


topmost crest down to the valley. Yet I should 
like at once to point out that, however powerful 
the impression it produced, still, it did not corre- 
spond to what might be expected from the solitary 
grandeur of Khan-Tengri, which so greatly over- 
tops all other surrounding peaks. I stood too 
near its base, and at too low a level, to see its 
outlines in proper perspective and without too 
much foreshortening. The altitude reached by 
me on the glacier was about 14,800 or 15,000 ft. 
(4,500 or 4,600 m.) ; and if the summit of Khan- 
Tengri attains 23,600 ft. (7,200 m.), the difference 
of 8,500—8,800 ft. (2,600—2,700 m.) was com- 
pressed into far too narrow an optic angle. 
Naturally, this effect must be still more marked 
m the photographs taken by me at this spot. In 
order to do full justice to the majestic form of 
the monarch of the Tian-Shan, and render it in 
the picture, an elevated point would have to 
be scaled in the range bounding the glacier on 
the south, opposite the mountain, at a distance of 
about two and a half versts. For this, however, 
there would be needed long preparatory work and 
especially settled weather ; but this had already 
been for some time imsettled, with snowstorms 
every afternoon, and another was just then 
evidently approaching. 

It was noiv quite cleai\ that the culminating 
eminence of the ivhole Tian-Shan does not stand in 
the mainivafe?shcd, and is not a nucleus of converging 
ranges, so that all preconceived notions of the part 
played by it in the Tian-Shan system must be given 



up. The pjTamidal summit rises, in fact, out of 
the secondary spur, which projects from the main 
range far to the south-west, and divides the 
Inylchek glacier valley into two sections. Between 
this secondary spur and the part of the main range 
which had hitherto appeared to close in the head 
of the valley, the southern main glacier is pro- 
longed for a much gi'eater distance than could 
be supposed, running north-eastwards through a 
somewhat winding valley, which, from this point, 
narrows considerably and at the same time becomes 
steeper. I was unable to see up to the head of 
this valley. To do so I should have had to 
advance at least four miles (six versts) farther up 
the main glacier, for which there was no time, 
while the attempt was prevented by the state of 
the weather, visibly growing more threatenmg. 
Up to the foot of Khan-Tengri I had covered 
thirty-five miles (fifty-three versts) on the glacier, 
and, as already stated, the distance as far as the 
entrance to the glacier- valley, now narrowing away 
to the north-east, was about four miles (six versts). 
According to my estimate, based on the trend 
of the crests, this uppermost glacial valley must 
extend at least from four to five miles (six to eight 
versts) farther to the north-east. Hence the 
Inylchek glacier must have a total length of from 
fortji-three to forty-six jnilcs {sixty-five to seventy 
versts), as compared zcith the hitJiejio-given estimate 
of from, six and a half to eight miles {ten to 
twelve versts). It accordingly ranks with the very 
largest ice-strea??is of the mainland. I have every 


reason to assume, that the junction of the lateral 
mountain branch, bearing Khan-Tengri, with the 
main range takes place at or near the so-called 
" Marble Wall," in the Bayumkol valley — the very 
spot which figures on all maps as Khan-Tengri itself. 
Hence, not Khan- Tciigri, but the '^ 3Iarble Wall,'' 
is the true nucleus, the " knot " of the main rami- 
fications of the Central Tian-Shan system. As it 
had now to be named, I could find no name more 
suitable to its importance, than that of the first 
President of the Imperial Russian Geographical 
Society, His Imperial Highness Grand Duke 
Nicholas JNlikhailovich, who takes such a lively 
interest in the exploration of the Tian-Shan. I 
accordingly propose to call this central summit 
Mount Nicholas ]Mikliailovich. 

As was already to be inferred from the preceding 
observations, we must now give up the hitherto 
current view, that primitive rocks enter into the 
structure of Khan-Tengii, and all the inferences 
associated with this viezv must similarly fcdl to the 

The most elevated and centred region of the 
Tian-Shan is built up exclusively of sedimentary 
rocks, as has cdready been shoxvn by my previous 
observations, and was confirmed by all my subsequent 
researches. The pyi-amidal cone of Khan-Tengri 
consists of more or less metamorphic hmestones, 
and of stratified marbles. In the structure of its base 
the same limestones are associated with diversely 
metamorphosed and even crystallised schists. In 
this series of formations are interstratified huge 


masses of dark, metamorphic rocks, apparently 
of diabasic character, constituting the black belt 
{vide p. 194), which encircles the pyramid, and 
which had already been noticed by some travellers 
from a distance. Of the same rocks is formed the 
broad dark ridge, which is seen close by, especially 
on the west side. How powerfully the trans- 
forming forces have co-operated with the contact 
of the eruptive rocks is seen in the fact, that in 
their neighbourhood, the limestones and schists 
liave been calcined and fritted a deep red. Fossils, 
collected by me in the limestones of the lower part 
of the glacier valley, may perhaps justify an 
inference, concerning the age of all these deposits. 

Now, if Khan-Tengri does not owe its origin to 
any of the eruptive (primitive) rocks, how are we 
to explain its peculiar isolated position, the mystery 
of its solitary eminence, towering still some 
2,600—3,280 ft. (800—1,000 m.) above all the 
neighbouring summits ? It may be noticed even 
from tlie middle course of the Inylchek valley 
that, despite all local disturbances, the general 
stratigrapliic structure of the ranges shows on the 
whole a southern dip on the southern rampart ; and 
the stratified beds on tlie northern rampart, on the 
contrary, sliow in general a nortliern dip, apart 
of course from greater or less deviations to the 
cast and west. This may be observed even along 
tlic Hanks oF tlie middle range, dividing the 
Inylclick ghicier valley, and in the very structure 
oF Klian-Tcngri itself. Here, then, we .seem to 
have the core ()f a formerhj existing colossal 


anticlinal^ which^ owing to subsidence and faults 
along the periphery, was ruptured and collapsed. 
In this report frequent mention has been made of 
extensive areas of subsidence and faults in the 
higlilands north of the Inylcliek valley, and sueli 
were subsequently observed in the south also. 
Of the crown of the old arch nothing has been 
preserved, save the summit of Khan-Tengri. Thus 
and thus alone can its isolated eminence in the 
vast Tian-Shan system be explained, an eminence 
which, apart from igneous cones, is without 
example in mountain systems of like extent. I 
am sorry I must here refrain from entering more 
fully into this subject, which will be dealt with in 
the more detailed report. 

Facing my standpoint at the foot of Khan- 
Tengri there opens in the southern rampart a 
glacier valley, which averages about one verst 
broad, slopes gently upwards, and at its head 
shows only a broad, flat sill. It must give easy 
access to the immediately following large parallel, 
longitudinal valley, ichich doubtless conceals a glacier 
rivalling the InylcJtek, but of which hitherto nobody 
had any knowledge. Had we been provided with 
the needful supplies, fuel, and the requisite number 
of porters, we might have started from this point 
on the exploration of this large unknown glacier, 
and at the same time followed the course of the 
Inylchek glacier to its very head, and explored 
more carefully its enclosing ramparts. But when 
it is remembered that the distance from our base 
at Narynkol was about 130 miles, by a route in 


places very difficult, and that most of what was 
required for a party, numbering at least ten, and 
for a stay of several weeks in this icy region, would 
have to be brought thence, it will be understood 
that such an undertaking exceeded the resources 
of a private explorer. It would, in the first place, 
have been quite impossible for him, in a country 
like this, to hire the additional number of trust- 
worthy, experienced and disciplined porters, in- 
dispensable for the purpose, and whose number 
I estimate at from twenty to twenty-five. But 
not more than at most ten really capable and good 
climbing porters could anywhere be obtained ; 
even these would be found wanting at critical 
moments, as had so often happened to me, and 
the expedition would then fail in its object. An 
expedition, organised by the Imperial Russian 
Geographical Society, and backed up by the 
Government, could alone carry out such an under- 
taking with success. As I hoped in any case to 
be able, during the further course of the journey, 
to penetrate from some point of its middle course 
into that large, parallel, longitudinal valley, I did 
not regret the opportunity now postponed. As 
it turned out, however, this unknown glacial 
region was fated to remain closed for me also. 

I shoukl like liere to make a few brief remarks 
on tlic possibility of climbing Khan-Tengri, as 
it has been wrongly assumed, that this exploit was 
the main object of my expedition. The heavily 
glaciated plateau, crowning the ridge out of which 
rises up the huge pyramid, I estimate at about 


1,300 or 1,600 ft. (400 or 500 m.) above my 
standpoint on the glacier. At the west base of 
the pyramid a saddle filled with nevd is sunk deep 
in the back of the plateau-like ridge; from this 
a steep but still passable glacier couloir descends 
to the main glacier. Hence the saddle can be 
reached without any great difficulty, and from it 
the pyramid may still rise to a height of about 
6,900 ft. (2,100 m.). The southern arete and the 
south face are unassailable, the very thought of 
attacking them being excluded by their tremen- 
dously steep glaciated slope. A little more hope 
is awakened by the rocky and much curved south- 
west arete. If the angle of inclination of the 
pyramid's south-west arete be put only at forty-five 
degrees, a very moderate estimation, the absolute 
height of the culminating point above the saddle at 
6,900 ft. (2,100 m.), and the windings of the ridge 
be taken into consideration, there would be rather 
more than 9,900 ft. (3,000 m.) of a rock arete to be 
surmounted. Since, as already stated, the pyramid 
consists of marble, which, as is well known, is 
the kind of rock that presents the greatest 
difficulty to climbers, while in places the strata 
are disposed one above the other like tiles on a 
roof, the experienced Alpinist will be able for 
himself to form some idea of the difficulties 
awaiting him. Nor are there any chimneys, by 
which the ascent might be facilitated. Ledges 
and terraces, as far as can be judged from below, 
are hardly discoverable, except a little beneath 
the summit, while, on the other hand, there is 


no lack of all kinds of obstacles along the arete. 
Yet this side offers a better promise of reaching 
the top, than any other direction. 

A traveller, who a few years ago observed Khan- 
Tengi-i from the Sary-jass valley, and perhaps 
also from a somcM^hat nearer standpoint, con- 
sidered, apart from the great mistake he made 
regarding the direction, from which the mountain 
should be approached, that the north-north-east 
slope, with its great chimney, was of relatively 
easy ascent. This, however, is not the case. On 
several occasions we had sufficiently close views 
of that wall, and all the members of the expedition 
were unanimously of opinion, that it offered not 
the slightest chance of a successful ascent. 

A sine qua non for every attempt is, naturally, 
the possibility of bringing thither everything 
needed for several weeks' stay in that glacial region 
so difficult of access. What this means has already 
been pointed out. Lastly, the very precarious 
climatic conditions have to be considered. If 
icy winds blew daily down the valley, as they 
did during my sojourn on the glacier, the mere 
attempt to climb the rocks of Khan-Tengri would 
be out of the question. By increasing atmospheric 
disturbances, followed by a snowstorm, a premature 
end was put to my observations at the foot of 
Klian-Tengri, when we liad scarcely been able to 
take the most indispensable photographic views. 



From our chief encampment at the end of the 
glacier-tongue I made my way a few days later 
some eighteen versts down the valley, where 
remains of old morainic drift could constantly 
be observed, often reaching more than 1,000 ft. 
(300 m.) higli up the walls of the valley. Shortly 
before reaching the old barrier (see p. 68) the 
wild Achailo torrent debouches on the left bank 
from a narrow, rocky gorge (confluence about 
8,600 ft. ; 2,800 m.). It is noteworthy, that this 
lateral stream is the only one in the middle and 
lower course of the Inylchek river, that discharges 
at the level of the main valley-bed. All other 
lateral valleys have their mouths very high above 
the level of the main valley. The deep erosion 
is here explained by the copious stream, the steep 
fall compared with its short course, and by the 
very disturbed and decomposed schists, in which 
the valley is cut. Of the two branches of the 
head waters, one comes from the east, the other 
from the south-east. Both drain considerable 
glaciers, which descend from an hitherto unknown 
range, sumptuously clothed with glaciers, which 
extends, in a direction north-west to south-east, 



for about eighteen -s^ersts between the Inylchek 
and Kayndy valleys, and presents a great variety 
of forms. 

This superb mountain range rises on an average 
to a height of about 13,000 ft. (4,500 m.), while 
its highest peaks exceed 10,000 ft. (5,000 m.) 
Between it and a parallel limestone range, whose 
northern part presents a typical instance of a ridge 
in a state of almost accomplished abrasion, there 
inter \'enes a shallow trough, a kind of a high 
plateau (Syrt), which has an average breadtli of 
three versts, liaving a mean height of about 12,000 
ft. (3,600 m.), and is richly carpeted with Alpine 
herbage. On its scarcely distinguishable highest 
protuberance (about 12,500 ft. ; 3,800 m.) lies the 
watershed between the Inylchek and the next 
parallel \'alley, the Kayndy. 

As already stated, none of the maps show any 
of the valleys and mountain ranges, amid which 
my expedition now moved for ten days or more. 
As my surveys have not yet been worked up, 
I shall for the present confine myself to emj^ha- 
sising the more salient features. The above- 
mentioned plateau (Syrt) is nothing more than 
the floor of an old glacial trough, from which 
formerly large glaciers, about 2,500 or 3,000 ft. 
(800 or 900 m.) deep, descended on both sides, 
one very steeply down to the Inylchek, the other 
more gently to the Kayndy valley. This can 
still be clearly traced on both sides, but especially 
on the Inylchek side, by the course followed by 
tlie ohi moraines. Rocks entering into the 


structure of this lofty range, and extending 
farther on to the Kayndy valley, are highly 
metamorphised schists of very diversified appear- 
ances — phyllites, semi-crystallised limestones, white 
marble, and lastly, diabase. The schists and 
the limestones are set at a high angle. In the 
first lateral valley, descending from the east, 
appear to lie the largest glaciers and to rise the 
highest snowy peaks, as may be seen in the ascent 
from the north. They assume their grandest forms 
in the vicinity of the pass, where at the foot of a 
beautiful, bold peak, a morainic lake of considerable 
size extends into the green Alpine meadows. On 
the descent down the south side are seen huge 
" Tors " of diabase, which break through the 
rugged masses of the limestones and scliists, and 
often develop wild jagged crests along the highest 
ridges. In none of the Central Tian-Shan valleys, 
save in the immediate neighbourhood of Khan- 
Tengri, have I seen igneous rocks of such extent 
and thickness, as those along the upper course of 
the Kayndy. Here the eruptive matter (diabase), 
displays very diversified character. 

Near its junction with the Kayndy the trough- 
shaped valley running southwards from the plateau 
contracts to an impassable serrated canon, confined 
between vertical limestone walls. The track there- 
fore leads up very steep slopes on the right bank 
to a considerable elevation, where the whole 
surface is strewn with great quantities of white 
marble and contact-schistose blocks. The descent 
is quite as steep to the Kayndy valley, which owes 


its name to the birch- woods, characteristic of its 
lower course. In its upper course, which has a 
breadth of from a quarter to half a mile, the 
mounds of debris, lying at the foot of the almost 
vertical limestone walls on the left bank, are 
overgi'own with little clumps of pine. 

As the axis of the valley frequently follows the 
strike of the strata (N. by 40° E.) the side facing 
the dip of the strata has a steep, sometimes per- 
pendicular fi'ont. Nevertheless, the escarpments 
of the valley do not present the same imposing 
character as those of the Inylchek valley. The 
ranges are not so high, and present less diversified 

From the mouth of the southern Achailo river 
we wandered along the left bank of the Kayndy, 
over a broad, ^'ery gently-inclined, grassy terrace, 
some sixteen miles up to the tongue of the 
glacier, which stands at a height of about 
11,500 ft. (3,250 m.). I was surprised to find no 
trace of granite or of other archa?an rocks along 
the whole way, either in the river drift or in 
the morainic beds. From this it may be inferred 
that the often-mentioned granite massif, whose 
fragments are brought down and deposited on 
the Inylchek glacier, was not in this valley, 
as I had liitlierto supposed. The river consists 
of a single channel, and although of considerable 
size, is still not nearly so copious, as might be 
expected from a glacier of such extent as that 
of the Inylchek. Both observations were clear 
indications, that the Kayndy could not be the 


grejit longitudinal valley, that I was seeking. 
The enclosing walls are composed of a series of 
hght and dark limestones, several beds being 
exceptionally rich in fossils, which, however, have 
been crushed and squeezed by contact with the 
diabase. Still some of the collected samples may 
perhaps be identified. Diabase of diverse structure, 
horn slates (Hornscliicfer), diabasic tuffs, are of 
frequent occurrence in the boulder drift, while 
higher up the valley, highly metamorphic clay- 
schists and sandstones were again met with. 
Strange to say, no marbles occur in the whole 
zone of the glacier. But the stratigraphic relations 
are very complicated, and Herr Keidel thought 
he recognised scale-structure during his visit to the 
middle parts of the valley in the previous year. 

For the first quarter of its course the Kayndy 
glacier is also covered with a mass of detritus, 
though far less extensive and less thick, than 
that of the Inylchek glacier. After three or 
four miles the ice becomes free, and here very 
uneven, which, however, is rather the result of 
erosion from the running waters, than the effect 
of pressure. Farther up tlie ice is smooth. It 
has an average breadth of 2,300—2,600 ft. (700 
— 800 m.), with a total length of twelve to thirteen 
miles, a very winding form, and a slight incline. 
On the left margin several green tarns fill de- 
pressions in the ice. Worth mentioning, as a 
rare phenomenon in the Tian-Shan, is a lofty 
and copious waterfall in the riglit scarp of the 
valley. On the left bank a verdant terrace, over- 


grown with cargana-bush, still skirts the ice some 
five miles upwards. 

As a result of my exploration it became 
evident, that the Kayndy glacier extends only 
for a short stretch north-eastwards parallel with 
the Inylchek glacier ; it is soon closed in by 
the already-mentioned spur {vide p. 204), which 
branches off below the mouth of the granite- 
bearing lateral valley of the Inylchek glacier 
from the southern scarp of this valley. The signi- 
ficance and trend of this spur, which I had not 
clearly understood till now, became clear, and 
the absence of granite in the Kayndy valley was 
now also explained, llie Kayndy vcdley is thus 
shown to be merely ijiteiyosed between a much 
longer longitudinal valley and the Inylchek basin. 
A deep gap in the completely glaciated mountain 
wall, enclosing the head of the Kayndy valley, 
might give access to, or at least afford a view of, 
this more extensive longitudinal valley confining 
the Kayndy valley. The range forming the 
northern scarp of the glacier, is crowned by a 
series of fine snowy peaks, which cannot be 
seen from the Inylchek, because, as I have already 
pointed out, the parting wall there ramifies into 
two parallel spurs. On the other hand, one of the 
highest of the Inylchek mountains is visible through 
a gap from the Kayndy glacier. The southern 
scarp of the valley is likewise glaciated to a 
considerable extent, but is lower than the northern. 
It is here that the Tian-Shan 7nassif hegms to slope 
southwards {vide pp. 41, 47, 07), and while the 



[To face p. 222. 


northern range forms a mountain mass rarely carved 
by a valley, the southern range is cut up by numer- 
ous ravines, disposed obliquely to the long axis of 
the valley. Several small and two large lateral 
glaciers descend through these ravines towards 
the main glacier, but none except tlie two large 
ones now reach it. No indications could be dis- 
covered of any shrinkage of the glacier in recent 
times. But what a poor survival the present 
glacier is, when compared with its former extent 
is shown by traces, filling the whole valley. For 
some stretches the old moraines rise to two- 
thirds of the height of the enclosing walls — that 
is, to 2,000 ft. (600 m.) above the bed of the 

From a point in the enclosing wall on the left 
side, some 3,000 ft. (1,000 m.) above the glacier 
level, a panoramic view was obtained of the glacier 
and of the encircling ranges. 

In order to visit the next large parallel valley, 
I resumed my wanderings, and made my way 
down the valley for twenty-four miles, fi'om the 
tongue of the Kayndy glacier. In its middle 
course the Kayndy valley is distinguished by a 
wealth of rich grazing groimds, pine-groves, and 
a very fine and varied flora, such as one does not 
expect to meet with in a southern Tian-Shan 
valley. Here, too, the intruding diabasic rocks have 
variously transformed the schists and limestones 
of the cliffs enclosing the valley. About twenty 
miles below the end of the glacier, where the 
valley contracts to a ra\'ine, it bends sharply 


round to the south-west, and at the outlet of 
the ravine, which is two miles long, forms a 
basin- shaped enlargement, where the left bank is 
occupied by recent deposits 130 — 160 ft. high, 
consisting of very coarse-grained, hard red sand- 
stone. This passes to a still coarser yellow-brown 
sandstone, and farther west to conglomerates, 
overlain by later compacted drift, above which 
loess has been deposited. The conglomerates, 
forming steep walls, skirt the further course of 
the river for many versts on both sides. The 
sandstone strata show slight dislocations and their 
strike is discordant to the limestones of the 
ramparts enclosing the valley. On the history of 
at least a part of these recent deposits in the 
Tian-Shan I have evolved a theory of my own, 
which differs in some respects from that, hitherto 
entertained. I cannot, however, justify and 
elucidate it within the limits of this summary 
report, and must, therefore, reserve it for the 
detailed report. 



In the middle course of the valley the range, 
skirting the left bank of the Kayndy, appears to 
resolve itself into a series of spurs, running north- 
west and south-east, and bearing rugged summits, 
clothed with abundant glaciers. One of them 
displays a remarkably bold form, like a diminutive 
Khan-Tengri. Between these ridges a number of 
short, high-lying valleys are indentated, all collec- 
tively called Kara-bel by tlie Kirghiz ; only through 
the most easterly of these valleys, is it possible to 
cross the mountain range towards the south. Be- 
tween the deep bed of the middle Kayndy valley in 
the north, and the mucli more deeply excavated 
bed of the next parallel valley in the south, there 
stretches an almost plateau-like flattened ridge, 
covered with Alpine meadows, in the water-parting 
range, which forms an extensive depression between 
the series of peaks, ranged farther up and down the 
valley. The slope of this broad, flat ridge, gently 
inclined towards the Kayndy, is disposed in blunt 
ribs, divided by level trough-like upland valleys, 
which, however, are more deeply excavated where 
they approach the edge of the plateau ; this falls 

225 15 


in liigh, steep declivities down to the level of the 
main ^-alley. Formerly, when this was filled with 
glacier ice, the lateral ice-streams, descending from 
the neve once covering the plateau with but gentle 
incline through these troughs, joined the main 
glacier at a great height. The present relief of 
tliis upland region is entirely the result of glacial 
agencies. On the other hand, the far steeper 
slopes, fticing southwards are intersected by deep, 
impassable ravines. Between both slopes there 
stretches a broad wliale-back, inclined somewhat 
towards the south-west. In this very gently 
sloping fiat top is sunk a shallow cauldron, opening 
to the south-west, where the waters, converging 
in their descent from various directions, are 
collected in tliree channels, which in their turn 
unite still farther down in a single course. The 
Kirghiz, who find good summer pasture in this 
Alpine region, call it Uch-shat, " Three Valleys," 
and tlie transverse chain of variously shaped, 
snow-clad sunnnits a little farther west, they call 
Uch-shat-Tau. The main stream, formed by the 
three converging rivulets turns south and south- 
west, and soon disappears in a " nullah," the 
course oF which I was unable accurately to deter- 
mine. The Kirghiz say it joins the Sary-jass, 
liere descending from the north. 

Tims the Hat, truncated ridge about 13,000 ft. 
( l.OOO Ml.) higli, wlierc the sources of the Uch-shat 
ri\cr rise, forms the crest of tlie plateau region, but 
tliis, as has been stated, is the lowest part of the 
dividing range between the middle Kayndy and 


the next southern parallel valley. A depression 
about 12,300 ft. (3,750 m.) high in this crest is 
the Kara-archa pass, so called from the dark 
growth of bushy archa {Juniperus sabina) on its 
southern slope. This pass alone gives access to 
that southern parallel valley, tliat the Kirghiz call 
Kol-Jxaf — that is to say, " Sheep-sack," " sack " 
alluding to the narrow, closed form of the valley, 
while Koi ( = "■ sheep"), means that sheep are 
driven hither to graze. The Kirghiz, at that 
time residing in the Kayndy valley, told me it 
was so long that nobody could get to its end, 
and so narrow and so completely filled with rushing 
water that it was not passable in summer ; that 
a very large glacier and much snow stretched 
away in the background, where there are very 
high mountains. In winter, however, when the 
water is very low, the Kirghiz drive their sheep 
over the Kara-archa pass down the valley, and 
then thirteen miles up in the Koi-kaf valley, which 
hitherto ravine-like, broadens out and offers some 
poor grazing-grounds, with the sour steppe herbage 
preferred by the sheep. They told me, also, that 
owing to its low level and narrow enclosure, as 
well as to its position, extending far to the south, 
this spot is warm and nearly free from snow — a 
good wintering place for the flocks. 

Now, it was for us to discover for ourselves, 
whether it might not withal be possible for Alpine 
climbers to penetrate into this valley, which, from 
all that I had seen and lieard, must be the large 
southern valley I was seeking, running parallel to 


the Inylchek. By the narrow mouth of the first 
Kara-bel valley, cut in between huge cavernous 
conglomerate walls, we made our way to a trough- 
like expanse, encircled by grass-grown morainic 
ridges. These stretch along the foot of an im- 
posing, picturesque rocky Avail, crowned by glaciers, 
where dark diabasic cliffs stand out in the fore- 
ground, strongly contrasting with the masses of 
light limestones and marble-schists rising behind 
them. The route now lay over steep morainic 
ground towards tlie south-east, and over the crest 
of a ridge between two parallel troughs, to a pass 
(Kara-bel pass) about 11,500 ft. (3,450 m.) high, 
then southwards doA\ii toward the Uch-shat 
as far as the converging point (about 10,500 ft. ; 
3,250 m.) of the three streamlets, and so up 
through the easternmost of the three valleys, 
between much disturbed chloritic schists and 
sandstones, where we established our chief camp 
(about 11,500 ft. ; 3,500 m.), on the slope immedi- 
ately below the Kara-archa pass. From this point 
I crossed tlie pass (about 12,300 ft. ; 3,750 m.), and 
by a difficult descent southwards, reached a region 
drained by two streams, which unite farther on and 
tlicn lose themselves in a deep, narrow g^i'^^- ^^ 
order to turn this obstacle, we surmounted two 
ridges, about 10,500 ft. (3,250 m.) and 11,000 ft. 
(3,400 m.), projecting high above the yawning 
chasm, and then descended some 2,500 or 3,000 ft. 
(800 or 1)00 m.), by an unusually steep track, 
down an escarpment directly to the bottom of 
the gorge. Here we traversed for some distance 


a zone of sedimentary rocks — limestones, greatly- 
decomposed, and metamorphosed dark and light 
clay-schists with interstratified diabasic schists. 
From the pass and from the two ridges we com- 
manded partial views of the highlands. Towards 
the south and south-east, narrow, deeply cloven 
rocky crests, running apparently in wild disorder 
close together and but sparsely clad with snow 
and ice, are intersected by ravines of enormous 
depth. It was difficult to get a clear grasp of 
the dominant features in the general relief of 
these crests. We were, however, able at least 
to follow the ridge lines of the border-ranges 
along the course of the Sary-jass. But the in- 
tervening crests were too near our standpoints, and 
these were not elevated enough, to afford a view of 
the ice-clad regions of the Sabavchy and Kum- 
aryk, especially in the then clouded state of the 
atmosphere. On the east side, the mountain mass 
was cut up in a surprisingly di\^ersified way by 
erosion, confined, however, to the formation of 
glens and gorges at a high level. The process 
of their development seemed to be suddenly 
arrested, and they are now mostly dry and even 
free from snow, having failed, so to speak, in 
their intended vocation. 

The Kara-archa gorge, at first from fifty to 
sixty-five feet wide, soon contracts to thirty, 
and in places even to twelve feet. Its bed, 
thickly strewn with rock blocks, is swept by 
the swirlintT waters of the Kara-archa torrent. 
Vertical white marble walls, 1,300 — 1,700 ft. 


(400 — 500 m.) high, partly m thick slabs, partly 
in schistose beds set at a high angle, enclose 
the tortuous defile, in whose dim light could 
be seen the most magnificent dome-shaped 
hollows scooped by the water. Most amazing 
bendings, twistings, and burstings are shown 
in the strata of these steep ramparts. More- 
over, the extraordinary extent of the weather- 
ing and destruction often gave the impression 
that the masses, now hanging loosely together, 
might topple over at any moment. Nevertheless, 
the remains of a ruined vault may be recognised 
from the strike of the strata and the angles of 
incidence. Beds of conglomerate, whose material 
consists exclusively of white marble fragments, 
l)ound together by white cement, extend some 
heiglit up the rocky walls, and numerous huge 
blocks of such conglomerates often obstruct the 
way in the bed of the stream, while otliers, already 
loosened, threaten to tumble down. Morainic drift 
is also found in the gorge, deposited on ledges along 
tlie marble walls. Beside the conglomerates, the 
material in tlie river-bed consists nearly exclusively 
of wliite marble and green phyllite. During my 
long wanderings in mountain regions I have 
scarcely anywhere seen more chaotic forms than 
in this ravine, which are all the more remarkable 
from tlie material, of which the mountains are here 
built up. It is interesting to note that, at an 
a\'crage height of 500 ft. (150 m.) above the pre- 
sent bed of the gorge, blocks of loose conglomerate 
arc still preserved on small terraces of the steep 


ramparts, and thus show the former level of the 
Kara-archa stream. By this difficult route we 
were led some two and a half miles (four versts) 
through the canon. A little beyond its southern 
outlet a remarkable geological picture was pre- 
sented — tliick beds, alternating with slabs, both of 
very dense unfossiliferous limestone, the core of 
a worndown fold, whose strike (N. by 50° W.) 
is completely enclosed by the system of the far 
more vertically disposed, marble-like limestones 
and schists, which strike N. by 60° E. I have 
fixed the remarkable site by a photograph, and 
was able to follow this old fold farther on in the 
rocky walls running north-west and south-east. 

The canon, in its roughly southern course, 

broadens into a valley from 2G0 to 300 ft. wide, 

and is encircled by bare, rugged walls of brown 

limestone, 3,000—4,000 ft. (1,100—1,200 m.) 

high. After a short course it is sluit in by a still 

more elevated precipitous, rocky mountain range, 

striking from north-east to south-west across the 

axis of the Kara-archa. The traveller hears a 

mighty roar of swirling waters, but does not see the 

stream, rushing in a deeply excavated bed along 

the very foot of the steep, rocky barrier, until he 

has approached close to the brink. This is the 

longitudinal gorge of the Koi-kaf, which is joined 

on its right bank by the transverse cleft of the 

Kara-archa. No doubt a volume of water, such 

as is discharged through this fluvial bed, can 

owe its existence, in a region of such slight 

precipitation, only to some very extensive and 


lofty glacier region. But in the winding gorge, 
some sixty-five feet (twenty metres) wide, through 
which the river rushes along, one could see only 
a little way up or down stream, the distant view 
being blocked by steep rocky walls, 

I liad our little mountain tent now set up on 
a small terrace (about 7,000 ft. ; 2,150 m.) near 
tlie confluence of the Kara-archa. In its com- 
plete seclusion — a kind of a cirque, enclosed 
on all sides by wild, overhanging rocky cliffs— 
the site was highly romantic, but appallingly 
desolate : loose loess soil, much boulder drift, 
mounds of waste, fluvio-glacial debris, a chaos 
of blocks in the river-bed, running waters on 
both sides, the only growth the stunted scrubby 
vegetation of the southern deserts and stony 
steppes ! For the copious streams, here rushing 
by, leave no fertilising effects behind ; the 
ground remains dry, dusty, parched. Seldom have 
1 seen in the mountains a more arid valley. The 
air was dank, oppressively sultry, the worry intense 
from stinging gnats. Gusts of wind, coming at 
times from the gorge, as from a blast-furnace, 
enveloped us in clouds of loess dust. Our stay 
in sncl) a place was extremely unpleasant, especially 
at night, with its stifling, heavy atmosphere and 
tormenting, winged pests, from which there was 
lu) csc.'ipc. Tlic sky was veiled, owing to fine loess- 
]>arliclcs, whirled aloft and floating in the air ; 
one could hardly distinguish the lofty crest-hnes of 
(he rugged walls. These unfavourable conditions 
iiMslcucd our operations. We forced our way up 


the river-gorge alongside its seething water, but 
after four versts of strenuous efforts found tlie 
way blocked by the impassable current, running 
close under the winding rocky walls. We tried 
to overcome the obstacle by forcing a passage high 
up on the cliffs ; but here the gorge describes 
such narrow windings, that we soon found ourselves 
again barred by a hke obstacle at a bluff surrounded 
by water. Moreover, all clambering over the 
smooth marble cliffs soon became impossible. And 
when the eye followed the sharp bends described 
by the crests of the enclosing ramparts, it was 
soon seen that this serpentine course was con- 
tinued very far up the valley ; the undertaking 
had therefore to be abandoned as hopeless. 

The Kirghiz were right after all ; nevertheless, 
I decided, in order to get a view of the upper 
course of the valley, to climb a high eminence in 
the steep enclosing walls. From such an eleva- 
tion, from which in any case the snowy ranges 
of the Kum-aryk and Sabavchy region would 
be visible, it would doubtless be possible to ascer- 
tain the relation of the Koi-kaf to those valleys. 
But this also proved useless, as the atmosphere 
had grown so much thicker, that even the 
nearest crests were almost \'eiled in mist. Owing 
to the fine loess dust, constantly rising, the air 
is probably here generally hazy ; but now, a hea\y 
barometric pressure having set in, there was 
added a vapoury cloud, which prevented me from 
getting a view of that most mysterious region 
of the Tian-Shan. 


With a hea\'y heart I decided to return from 
this inhospitable region. I should have willingly 
endured the discomforts of a few days' further 
stay in that desolate region, if I could have 
hoped for any satisfactory results. But the 
weather forecast was too unfa\ ourable. 

As it was, I could not have been very far from 
the opening of the Kum-aryk valley on to the 
soutliern plain, since I now stood only about 
1,800 ft. (400 m.) above its level. One could also 
perceive from the contours of the lofty crests, 
that those valleys, which I had visited some 
months ago, could not be far of£ Had it been 
possible to descend by the ravine, the mouth of 
the Kum-aryk could easily have been reached in 
a single day, however intricate might be the 
windings of the gorge. The Kirghiz were able to 
assure me, that the waters of the united streams 
turn several times sharply to the west, and again 
suddenly to the east, thus often flowing toAvards 
each other in narrow curves. This they knew 
of old, though none of them had yet traversed 
the narrows. The question uppermost in my 
mind was wliether the Koi-kaf might be identical 
witli the longitudinal Ak-su valley of the forty- 
\crst map {vide p. 157). AVere this not the case, 
then the Ak-su could only be the next parallel 
southern valley. 

l^'roin the cliaractcr of all these valleys, which, 
south of tlie Kayndy, are mere canons, and from the 
carving of the mountain masses, which is limited 
to tlieir upper parts, a point 1 have already referred 


to {vide p. 229), it follows that the formation of 
real valleys in this part of the Central Tian-Slian 
has been prevented by the intervening and rapidly 
increasing dryness of the climate. There is 
nothing to wash down the sides of the valley, while 
the discharge from the great glaciers, descending 
rapidly by the main channels, excavates their beds 
deeper and deeper, and the form of the canon is 
no longer eroded laterally to the profile of a real 

At the very first glance at the bed of the Koi- 
kaf river I noticed a pretty considerable quantity 
of granite, and that, too, of the same kind as is 
found in the moraine on the left side of the 
Inylchek glacier. This was a further proof, that 
the granite massif, which supplies its moraine 
material to the Inylchek through a lateral valley, 
connecting both, must appear also in the Koi-kaf 
valley, and lience this must be the great channel, 
which stretches parallel to the Inylchek far to 
the east. As, however, the central main range, 
which undoubtedly likewise encloses the head of the 
Koi-kaf, is formed, as proved beyond question, of 
sedimentary rocks, and as the lower and middle 
course of the Koi-kaf valley is like^^^se enclosed 
by like materials, the granite would appear to occur 
in this valley in the form of a " stock." 

Possibly these granite masses may also be 
connected in some way with those, observed in 
the Sabavchy valley. But from all my researches 
it results tJiat the Koi-kaf must be the large 
longitudinal valley I had been in search of, ivhich, 


bending round the Kaijndy valley, acquires in its 
tipper course a considerable breadth, and there 
contains a glacier, which must be about as eoctensive 
as that of the Inijlchek. 

From all the observations made, both on the 
north and the south side, I must also conclude 
that the southern bounding range of this large 
longitudinal valley is also connected at or some- 
where near the Peak Nicholas JNIikhailovich with 
the main range. Unfortunately, the unfavourable 
conditions prevented me from acquiring greater 
certainty on the structure of this part of the 
Central Tian-Shan, and a gap consequently still 
remains in my knowledge of the actual relations. 
On our return to the chief camp in the Uch- 
shat valley, fierce snowstorms set in and also 
accompanied us on our return to the Kayndy 
valley, which was now surveyed for another 
stretcli of about ten miles (fifteen versts) to 
its junction with the Sary-jass. On this route, 
as well as during our course through the 
Sary-jass valley up to the confluence of the 
Inylchck and tlu'ougliout the entire length of 
tliis valley up to the Tys-ashu pass, our observa- 
tions were unfortunately greatly impaired by the 
cloudy weather and by the thick mantle of fresh 
snow shrouding the heights. 



The ranges skirting the Kayndy valley fall 
gradually towards the channel of the Sary-jass, 
which intersects them trans^^ersely. Nevertheless, 
the architecture of tlieir crests presents a rugged 
aspect and is serrated by deep gaps. The remark- 
able tendency of the southern border-range to 
resolve itself into transverse ridges, running north- 
west and south-east, already mentioned (p. 223, 225), 
which is in sharp contrast to the generally ruling 
direction of strike, could here also be observed. 
For some distance the valley is blocked by vast 
accumulated masses of fluvio-glacial drift, through 
which the river cuts its way in a narrow gorge. 
Farther down the valley these masses of drift take 
the form of long terraces. Here the evidences 
of the ice age are specially conspicuous. Granite 
blocks of enormous size rest on the top of these 
terraces, though granite does not enter in the 
structure of the surrounding walls. Green, grau- 
wacke-like sandstones, limestones, and pliyllitic 
schists form the encircling walls, along wliich are 
deposited great quantities of conglomerates on 
both sides of the valley. 



AVhere the Sary-jass is joined by the Kayndy, 
the bed of this river not being fordable, the way- 
farer is compelled to scale the steep scarp of the 
left bank, here about 400 ft. (120 m.) high. It pro- 
jects like a headland in the angle, formed by the 
iunction of the tributary with the main stream, a 
fine prospect of which is commanded from these 
heights. Facing northwards, we first behold the 
sinuous contours of the crests of the Kulu-Tau, 
and Sary-jass-'J'au, between which the stream in 
its north to south course winds along in an inac- 
cessible gorge until it breaks out into a wide open 
valley a little above the confluence of the Inylchek. 
The valley now assumes a general south-south-west 
trend, and has an average breadth of a mile, and 
a mile and a quarter at its wddest part. After a 
course of about ten and a half miles (sixteen 
versts), it again turns south and even south-south- 
east, and once more contracts to a narrow gorge 
as it forces its way through the Ishigart-Tau range. 
Here the stream again disappears between the 
projecting and retreating angles of the shifting 
mountain curtains. It does not reappear until it 
once more breaks tlirough the narrows as the 
Kum-aryk, on the southern slope of the Tian-Shan 
{vide p. 148). 

On its open course the main stream is joined 
from tlie east by the Kayndy (confluence about 
7,1)00 ft. ; 2,400 m.), and eiglit miles (twelve versts) 
fartlier up l)y tlie Inylcliek (confluence 8,500 ft. ; 
2,000 m.). On the west side it is joined, nearly 
at the same level as the Kayndy, by the Uch- 


kill/ which also flows from a longitudinal valley, 
in its upper course called Yir-tash, on the source 
of which I have reported, p. 178, and two miles 
(three versts) below the confluence of the Inylchek 
by the Terek-ty. This river likewise discharges 
from a longitudinal valley, but, despite its im- 
portance, is, strange to say, entered in none of 
the maps. 

The enclosing walls of the Sary-jass valley, as 
long as its course is open, consist on both sides 
of walls only about 2,000 ft. (600 m.) high, 
the ranges through which the river here cuts 
transversely being much depressed towards the 
channel. They consist of black, slabby, dense and 
unfossiliferous limestones, which have a N. by 
20° E. strike, fiilhng to 40° S.E., and on both 
banks show the same stratigraphic relations. 

On the right bank at the foot of these ram- 
parts are three excellently preserved longitudinal 
terraces, developed in the masses of drift about 
130 or 160 ft. one abov^e the other, and all of 
considerable breadth with perfectly level surfaces. 
On the left side, on the contrary, the river 
approaches very near to the mountain side, and 
flows between the steep scarp of the lowest 
terrace of the right side, and the equally steep 
slope of tlie terrace (about 160 ft. high) Avhich 

' The lo^\•el• course of this river, eastward of the confluence of its 
tributary Orto-uch-kul^ joining from north, is called Ucli-kul. AVest of 
this confluence^ it bears the name Yir-tash. This I was informed by 
the Khirgfiz, sojourning in the Kyandy valley, opposite tlie mouth of 
Uch-kulj and also by those, camping on the Syrt plateau close to the 
head watei's of Yir-tash. 


extends only as a narrow belt along the rocky 
wall of the left bank. Here the river occupies 
a bed some 230 ft. (70 m.) wide, which — at 
least, when I traversed the valley — was completely 
flooded by the stream. This narrow terrace soon 
disappears altogether, and in order to reach the 
moutli of the Inylchek we had to pass along narrow 
ledges of the rocky wall some 500 ft. (150 m.) 
above the foaming torrent. Here, on narrow pro- 
jecting terraces and cornices of the limestone cliffs, 
I saw tlie remains of boulder drift containing large 
blocks of granite, and on other still more elevated 
ledges and recesses I observed stratified beds of 
gravel and sand sixteen inches (forty centimetres) 
thick, well preserved indications of the changes 
of level tliat have here taken place. 

In the Mittcilungen of the Imp. Royal 
Geogi-aph. Soc. of Vienna, vol. xlix. 1901, Dr. 
G. \on Almassy has suggested the possibility, 
that the waters of the Sary-jass, at that time pent 
up as a large lake, may have formerly flowed 
over the watershed of the JNIyn-tyr-Syrt away to 
the north, and were only later deflected to their 
southern course, when the northern outlet was 
made impossible by upheavals. Here I will not 
discuss tlie question of the former existence of a 
lake, having the compass assigned to it by Dr. 
von i\l massy; nor will I positively deny the 
[)ossil)ihty of the northern outflow being shifted, 
for instance, by ice, or accumulated deposits of 
drift. It must, however, be pointed out, that the 
profile of the Kok-jar valley does not at all 


suggest that at one time such a potent volume 
of water, as would accord with the size of the 
former Sary-jass, was really discharged through 
this channel. And we should still have to ask, if 
the present channel of Sary-jass at that time did 
not exist, what was the course then taken by 
the large atBuents of the Sary-jass — Inylchek, 
Kayndy, Koi-kaf, etc. — of which the Inylchek alone 
is more copious than the main stream ? West- 
wards to the Naryn basin ? Considering the con- 
formation and relief of the local mountain system, 
such an outlet is scarcely conceivable. Besides, 
what could have caused these rivers to be deflected 
altogether from their east to west to an almost 
southerly course ? Lastly, we should have to 
consider the weighty circumstance that the moun- 
tain ranges, which flank the east and west tributaries 
of the Sary-jass along their course, all slope quite 
gradually, but still \ ery considerably, towards the 
furrow of this river {vide pp. 237, 239), while no great 
significance can be attached to the presence of a 
lofty summit, rising at tlie east end of the Kulu- 
Tau. So much for the present on this interesting 
question, to which I shall return in the detailed 

The section from the confluence of the Inylchek 
to the Tys-ashu pass is about forty-two miles 
(sixty-three versts) long, so that we may estimate 
the length of the whole valley up to the head 
of the glacier at some ninety miles (135 versts), in- 
cluding the windings. In the lower course the 
average breadth of the valley is one mile, but here 



basin-shaped expanses, up to a width of two miles 
(three versts), alternate with contracted beds no 
more than G50 ft. (200 m.) or even 500 ft. 
(150 m.) wide at the already-described ancient 
barrier {vide p. 68) — the last remains of the lime- 
stone cliffs, which represent the remnants of the 
collapsed over-arching strata, not yet swept away 
by the current. The inchne is extremely gentle, 
scarcely more than thirty-five feet per mile 
(six metres per verst), and the ranges skirting 
the lower course have decreased very consider- 
ably in height. Nor, in the region of their 
crests, do they any longer show any special 
developments or varied contours. The formation 
of summits is reduced to broad, dome-like pro- 
minences of the plateau-shaped surface, and 
glaciation is now slight. While the chain on the 
south bank is much diversified by little upland 
glens, whose openings stand high above the present 
level of the valley, the northern range presents 
an almost continuous rampart. From the ob- 
servations I have already adduced, it appears that 
in all these longitudinal valleys trending east and 
west, the same phenomenon is repeated : The 
northern slope, with its abundant snow and water, 
is greatly eroded ; the slope facing south is dry, 
and to no appreciable extent ravined. The valley 
exhibits in general a steppe vegetation, though the 
heritage is abundant and in places very rich, while 
along the rocky walls of the southern range 
excellent Alpine meadows of great extent alternate 
NNilli considerable stretches of pine forest. In the 


lower valley also the old moraines have acquired 
a very important development. They reach very 
higli up the sides of the valley ; on their flat tops 
enormous blocks of granite, diabase, limestone and 
marble have been deposited. Here the constituent 
elements of the ranges are semi-crystalline lime- 
stones, sandstones, porphyries and highly meta- 
morphosed schists of very diversified types. The 
results of marked lateral pressure are constantly 
observable in the series. Of old igneous rocks I 
was certainly able to notice granite and syenite in 
some places along the middle course of the valley, 
but as already stated {vide p. 23G), my observations 
were impeded by the cloudy weather and the thick 
mantle of fi-esh snow on the heights. 

The great glacier was already veiled beneath a 
uniform covering of snow. Still, near the Tys-ashu 
pass I had the good luck to discover a coralhferous 
bed. I selected this pass also for the return, because 
it presents the shortest way to the northern slope. 
For the last time, the weather clearing up, I enjoyed 
from the summit of the pass the \dew of one of 
the grandest ranges in the world — an unbroken 
chain, over fifty miles (seventy-five versts) long, 
of wonderfully glaciated peaks, rising in solemn 
majesty vAi\\ hard, steel-like contours into the 
cold, clear autumn air of the parting day. 

The summer was drawing to a close, and renewed 
snowstorms might any day put a stop to my 
researches in the high regions. The Tys-ashu 
valley and its surroundings already (September 
12th) lay shrouded in a continuous sheet of snow 


sixteen inches (forty centimetres) thick. In the 
Sary-jass A'alley only the lower part of the southern 
slopes was still free from snow. Crossing by 
the Myn-tyr pass, the upper Kok-jar valley 
(Kuberganty), the Kapkak pass, and traversing 
the like-named valley, I again reached the Tekes 
valley. Great was my surprise and satisfaction 
to find here and in the transverse valleys, 
branching from the Tekes into the highlands, 
even the high grounds still free from snow, as 
well as a general temperature much higher than 
on the south side. 



At once seizing the opportunity, I, for the third 
time, visited the Bayumkol, my object now being 
to replace the valuable photographic \'iews, which 
had been lost the previous year in the waters 
of the ^lusart river. The work was effected 
without disturbance. From a summit about 
14,400 ft. (4,400 m.) high at the northern edge 
of the western glacier, as well as from a crag 
15,000 ft. (4,600 m.) high on the northern 
edge of the eastern glacier — clear autumn skies 
having succeeded a few stormy days — we were 
able to take a series of important telephotographic 
views, besides several panoramic ones, shedding 
light on the ramifications of the central crests, 
radiating from Mount Nicholas ]Mikhailo\dch. 
Special interest was presented by the view from 
the heights reached by me, showing the superb 
head of the Little JMusart or Saikal valley, com- 
pletely buried in neve and ice. But it was seen 
to be indispensable to traverse this valley, in order 
to verify its hitherto assumed connection Avitli 
the main watershed. The scanty representations 
given on the forty-verst map in respect of this 



and the neighbouring valleys stand in too violent 
antagonism to everything, that I had hitherto seen. 
Hence, the next task, that I proposed to myself, 
was a survey of this large transverse ^^alley, which 
had not yet been visited by any explorer. 

The entrance to the Little JNIusart valley was 
reached from the Xarynkol Staniza (Okhotnichi) 
by a south-eastern route, six to six and a half 
miles (nine or ten versts) long, across the rich, 
grassy steppe of the Tekes plain. The river fed 
by the glaciers of the A'alley is one of the most 
copious mountain streams on the north side. It 
is difficult, at times impossible, to cross. It differs 
fi'om many other Tian-Shan rivers in that, all the 
way up to its upper course there are no branches, 
but only a single artery everywhere. Large 
quantities of drift have been discharged from 
the wide opening of its valley, about 6,900 ft. 
(2,100 m.) high, far into the Tekes plain, where 
they are disposed in thick terraces on both sides 
of tlie valley-mouth. In the valley itself they 
form a fliglit of three verdant steps, running for 
some distance parallel with the river-bank. Along 
the lower course the escarpments of the valley 
are formed of limestones, which are pierced by a 
porpliyry zone one and a quarter miles wide. 
Owing to the extensive mantle of morainic 
detritus, overlying the escarpments, a large 
section of the valley presents for the most part 
soft, rounded forms. Excellent Alpine pastures, 
favourite wintering places of the Kalmuks, alter- 
nate witli extensive stretches of dense pine-forest, 



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often interspersed witli leafy growths (mountain- 
ashes, willows, etc.). The general aspect is almost 
that of a fine northern Alpine valley. 

Four and a half miles (seven versts) above its 
mouth the valley forks into two branches, — one, 
called the Uertenty, running south-south-east and 
south-east ; the other, the Saikal, stretching south- 
wards. To judge from the volume of water 
discharged by the two streams, the Saikal basin 
contains the more extensive glaciers. The level 
of the Uertenty valley lies at the forking, 130 ft. 
(40 m.) higher than that of the Saikal, here 
about 7,200 ft. (2,200 m.) high, down to which it 
falls abruptly. The lower course of the Uertenty 
has a ravine-like form, is densely timbered, and of 
difficult access. In its middle course the valley 
broadens out considerably, the bottom and slopes 
clothed with Alpine meadows ; it there receives 
numerous affluents, which, in the cirque-like basins 
at their sources, harbour small glaciers, while the 
main valley, with a total length of about twenty- 
six and a half miles (forty versts), is filled for tlie 
last quarter of its course by a glacier about six and 
a half miles (ten versts) long. This is nourished 
by the nev^ of an akeady described {vide p. 15) 
plateau-like secluded mountain mass, encircled by 
lofty, many-peaked ranges, which stretches as a 
water-shed in the angle between the heads of the 
Saikal valley, of the JNIukur-mutu valleys, and of 
the Dondukol valley, the largest affluent of the 
Great JNlusart river {vide pp. 83, 85). In this region, 
which once was in its whole extent covered by 


ice, erosion has not carried the process of valley- 
carving very far, only high-lying valleys being 
exca\'ated. Towards its head the highest glaciated 
trough of the Uertenty valley connects with that 
of the east branch of the Saikal valley, of which 
more anon. 

A little beyond the forking the Saikal contracts 
to a ra\ine, averaging a hundred feet (thirty 
metres), and in places not more than thirty feet 
(ten metres), in width. Here the steep hmestone 
walls are occupied to a great height by many 
thousands of dead pine-trees, the result of a forest 
fire. Great numbers have fallen down, thus further 
obstructing the copious current in the narrows, 
where it was already impeded by large boulders. 
Hence this caiion, from three to four miles (five to 
six versts) long, is very difficult to traverse, and 
quite impassable in spring and summer, as at these 
seasons the narrow channel is flooded house-high 
by the melting snows. In this deep gorge the 
air is stagnant, oppressive, and the decaying, ex- 
uberant vegetation, growing in all the cavities and 
on the ledges of the clifts produces a stifling 
atmosphere. At the upper outlet of the gorge e 
valley gradually broadens out to a considerable 
extent. A picturesque aspect is there imparted 
to the valley by tlie extensive old morainic deposits 
of the main stream, with those carried down by 
tlie numerous lateral rivers, all much intersected by 
erosion clianncls and carpeted with beautiful Alpine 
meadows, dense pine-woods of great extent, and 
a quite luxuriant bush vegetation. The lateral 


valleys are for the most part narrow glens, which, 
farther back, expand to glacier-filled cirques. 
Limestone still forms the enclosing ramparts, 
which, in the parting- wall between the Saikal and 
the Bayumkol, assume the form of an abrupt 
serrated crest, set with small glaciers. This wall 
is pierced about sixteen miles (twenty-five versts) 
above the forking of the river by a broad, glacier- 
bearing valley, at whose head a high pass leads to 
the Alai-aigyr, an affluent of the Bayumkol which 
has already been referred to (p. 27). From this 
point gneiss begins to form the escarpments of the 
valley and reaches nearly to its head, often passing 
into granite, and this again into gneiss. Owing 
to the but slightly inclined bedding of the gneiss 
(averaging about 40°), the contour lines of the crests 
seldom exhibit rugged forms or deep indentations. 

Some twenty miles (thirty versts) beyond the 
forking of the valley, it is joined on the 
(orographical) right side by the most copious and 
important of its affluents, which, in its many- 
branched course of about thirteen miles (twenty 
versts), leads to the iligh Saikal pass, giving access 
t Hthe Uertenty valley. At the confluence of that 
lateral valley its old moraine drifts have been 
heaped up on an earlier terminal moraine deposited 
by the retreating glacier of the main valley. 
Behind this elevated barrage the waters of the 
Saikal were once damned up into a large lake a 
mile wide. The (orographical) left side of this 
basin is joined by a steep glaciated valley, some 
ten miles (fifteen versts) long, which ramifies at 


its head into two branches, one coming from the 
south, the other from the south-west. One of 
these has its source on the neve saddle of the 
eastern Bayumkol glacier, where our high camp 
had stood the previous year, while the other 
takes its rise in a glacier basin, lying to the 
north of it. 

Towards its head the Saikal valley, altogether 
about thirty miles (forty-five versts) long, is 
divided by old terminal moraine walls, piled up 
by the periodically retreating glacier, into several 
round level tracks, on whose gravelly flats the 
river, hitherto confined to a single bed, now 
ramifies. The clumps of pines, standing on the 
old moraines, which rise in terraces one behind 
the other, contrast sharply with the dazzling white 
of the completely ice-clad cliffs, which here enclose 
a broad cirque and apparently form the head 
of the valley. At the foot of these unusually 
torn and tossed ice-walls, rising into superb peaks 
some 8,200 ft. (2,500 m.) above the valley 
level (itself about 10,000 ft. ; 3,000 m.), the 
picturesquely crevassed glacier, completely free of 
debris, bursts out like a cataract and, after a short 
course down the valley, ends at the altitude of 
9,700 ft. (2,950 m.) in a terminal ice wall 160 ft. 
(50 m.) high. The glacier tongue is fringed on 
tlie left by a dark belt of scrubby vegetation. 
Not till he approaches the wall on the (orographic) 
right bank, does the observer perceive that the 
valley again Ijcnds round to the east-south-east, 
and that the glaciated walls, which really enclose 


the head of the valley, and are similar to, but 
1,300 or 1,600 ft. (400 or 500 m.) lower than, 
those just described, lie some miles farther on in 
that direction. In order to reach this uppermost 
cirque a barrier of old morainic boulders, about a 
quarter of a mile broad, has to be surmounted. 
Then, by a steep descent, we reach an oblong 
basin which is from 2,000 to 2,300 ft. (600—700 m.) 
long, and 1,300 to 1,600 ft. (400—500 m.) broad, 
being enclosed on three sides by glaciated walls, 
and on the fourth blocked by the above-mentioned 
morainic deposit. Through this barrier the river 
cuts its way in a narrow canon, beyond which 
it ramifies over a tract perfectly levelled by the 
fine limestone and schistose drift deposited on it. 
Here, also, the ramparts, enclosing the head of the 
valley are composed of limestone, marble, and dark 
clay-schists ; they do not belong to the main 
central range, but to a chain running parallel with 
it, wliic'h forms the northern w^all of the large 
glacial valley, that stretches from Mount Nicholas 
ISlikhailovich towards the INIusart pass, and was 
discovered by us the year before {i)ide p. 32 et seq.). 
At its east end the above-described basin is 
joined at the level of the valley (about 10,000 ft. ; 
3,100 m.) by the tongue of a large glacier, w^hich 
emerges fi'om a breach in the ramparts, and fills 
the bed of a rather narrow valley, about thirteen 
miles (twenty versts) long, coming from the east- 
south-east. It has its source on the same elevated 
plateau-like mountain mass as the Uertenty valley, 
encircles in its bending course the uppermost 


nevd basin of this valley, and at its head joins 
that of the Dondukol valley. From the plateau 
se^ eral smaller glaciers descend at steep angles 
between snowy peaks to the main glacier. 

The Uertenty valley itself intersects another high 
valley, the ^laralty, which, traversing the above- 
mentioned plateau latitudinally, debouches in the 
Dondukol {vide p. 17). If that long glacier really 
be regarded as a branch, or as the highest source, 
of the Saikal, for its waters are drained by this 
stream, then the Saikal valley will have a total 
length of about forty-three miles (sixty-five versts). 
The existence of such extensive glaciers in this 
part of the Tian-Shan was hitherto unknown. 

The elucidation of these intricate orographic 
relations could not, of course, be eifected merely by 
traversing the Saikal valley. Not until we had 
scaled a snowy peak 14,800 ft. (4,500 m.) high, in 
the dividing wall between Saikal and Uertenty, was 
I able to get a clear insight into the relief of this 
section of the highlands, but here I succeeded in 
completing the observations, made from the heights 
in the eastern Bayumkol and in the Mukur-mutu 
district. As on the first ascent of the peak the at- 
mosphere became murky, it had to be repeated two 
days later. Tclephotographic views, obtained from 
this eminence supplied solid materials for these 
observations. Tlie photographs, already taken from 
the Huyumkol valley eastwards, are now supple- 
mented by tlie panoi-amic j)hotographs, looking 
westwards from the Saikal peak. As these opera- 
lions were later continued eastwards from elevated 





standpoints at the head of the Mukur-mutu and 
of the Dondukol valleys, I have secured, for the 
whole tract from the Sary-jass to the Great 
Musart valley, an unbroken series of panoramas, 
representing the central highlands, and verifying 
each other. These will form an excellent com- 
plement to the topographical work, in which the 
details were obtained by photogrammetry. Added 
to all this are the special panoramas of the great 
mountain ranges, extending from the Sary-jass 
southwards to the Kayndy valley. 



As I had been informed, that an Alpine lake — 
such a rare phenomenon in the Central Tian-Shan 
— lay on the heights in the western scarp of the 
Saikal valley, I sought out this lake on our return. 
Shortly before the Saikal river enters its gorge- 
like narrows, a steep ascent of 500 ft. (150 m.) 
to the west is made over the mountain slope 
covered with morainic debris, now overgrown with 
scrub and trees. Thus the heaped-up masses of 
erratic blocks of an old terminal moraine are 
reached, which cut off a lateral valley a quarter 
of a mile wide, running east to west. 

Beyond this barrier, in a deep rocky bed, — 
owing its origin in part to glacial corrasion — lies a 
deep green mountain tarn, from 1,600 to 2,000 ft. 
(500—000 m.) long by 1,500 ft. (350 m.) broad, 
at an altitude of about 8,000 ft. (2,450 m.). 
By the Kalmuks it is called Nura-nor, and by 
the Kirghiz Kara-kol. The lacustrine basin is 
enclosed on the south by a steep mountain wall, 
o\'ergrown far up with dense dark pine-woods, 
and on tlie north side by a similar rampart, but 
crowned with Alpine meadows and falling with 



a steep rocky declivity (pliyllites), some 200 ft. 
(GO m.) high, down to the water's edge. 

In the west a gully slopes steeply four miles 
up to the dividing ridge, beyond which lies the 
Narynkol valley. Through this gully a copious, 
limpid mountain stream flows between wooded 
and densely copse-clad banks, tumbling over little 
cascades down to the lake. Snowy, rocky emi- 
nences rise above the encircling ramparts on this 
side, and beyond the narrow glen of the Saikal 
river, and are mirrored hi the deep-green waters 
of the lakelet. 

It is a somewhat stern, but thoroughly Alpine 
lacustrine picture, such as is amongst the rarest 
spectacles to be seen in the Tian-Shan highlands. 
Through the upland valley, now watered by the 
streamlet, there formerly descended the glacier, 
which corraded the lacustrine basin in the easily 
destructible phyllitic strata, and in its retreat 
heaped up the moraine wall, after the retreat of 
the large glacier which once filled the Saikal 
^ alley, and which was formerly joined by this 
lateral glacier. The lake has no visible outlet ; 
but the copious springs, welling up farther down 
in the bed of the Saikal valley, may probably 
be fed by its underground discharge. While 
the shores of the lake are elsewhere steep and 
rocky, the affluent has developed, on the west side, 
a small, flat, sandy delta. The high-water marks 
on the rocky banks stand about eight feet above 
the surface. That these marks only indicate the 
high-water level in spring, when the inflow is 


greater than the outflow, is shown by the traces 
of the ripphngs in the loose sand of the western 
margin, which stand at the same level and had 
not yet been obliterated. Hence the lake would 
appear not to have yet entered on its period 
of shrinkage. Surmounting the steep slope on 
the north side, which is clothed with a gro^lh 
of unusually tall and dense grasses greatly im- 
peding the passage, I climbed up a steep ridge, 
10,500 ft. (3,200 m.) high. Here I enjoyed an 
instructive prospect of the ranges, skirting the 
Little INIusart valley. Just facing me towards the 
south was the lofty, fine snowpeak, which towers 
above the dividing ridges between the Narynkol 
and Bayumkol valleys, and, greatly overtopping 
its surroundings, serves by its bold formation as 
the landmark of our Narynkol station. 

The altitude of the ridge I ascended coincides 
with the upper limit of the pine-woods on all the 
neighbouring mountain slopes. Proceeding north- 
eastwards a little beneath and along the crest of 
the range, and then descending a steep incline, I 
reached the well- wooded Buraty valley, which joins 
the Little Musart much farther down, and so from 
thence got back to the Narynkol station. 

Meanwhile, I received information of the 
existence of three other mountain lakes, which, 
as I was told, lay between the middle Bayumkol 
and the Kapkak valleys. Such flooded basins, 
which were formerly so very numerous, but have 
now become so rare, in the Tian-Shan, present 
pecuhar interest in respect of the history both of 


glaciation and of valley formation in the Tian- 
Slian, the two phenomena, to which 1 had paid 
special attention dining this expedition. 1 was, 
therefore, now induced to visit these upland lakes 
also, and by their means to examine whether the 
inferences, drawn from my previous obser\'ations, 
were valid. 

Tlie middle Bayumkol ^ alley, where it changes 
its southern for an east-south-eastern course, and 
a little before its second great basin-shaped en- 
largement, receives on its (orographical) left bank 
the copious Ak-kul stream, whose valley at the 
confluence is about 800 feet wide and densely 
wooded to a great height by pine-trees. Fluvio- 
glacial drift-beds extend from its mouth into the 
main valley in the shape of terraces, which also 
follow the course of the stream for some miles 
up its valley. This runs at first south-east, then 
south and south-wxst, though the trend of the 
main axis is south-south-west, following the strike 
of the granites, which form escarpments along the 
whole length of the valley (thirteen miles ; twenty 
versts). At the entrance of the valley the granite 
is stratified and greatly dislocated. After two 
and a half miles (four versts) the valley begins 
to contract, and after three and a quarter miles 
(five versts) has a width of only 160 ft. (50 m.) 
Here I established my camp in the middle of an 
extremely dense pine-wood (8,500 ft. ; 2,000 m.), 
and ascended the valley, near the head of which 
stands Lake Ak-kul. The bed of the river slopes 
rapidly, and both banks, throughout the whole 



length of its course, abound in copious springs, more 
numerous than I had yet noticed in any Tian-Shan 
valley. To these springs, rising in the dislocated 
granites and not to the overflow from the lake, the 
river is indebted for its great volume of water. 
The granite escarpments are covered up to a con- 
siderable height with drift, on which flourish much 
timber, brush, and rich Alpine grass. Glacial 
polishing may be observed high up the rocky 
escarpments. Where the valley again acquires a 
considerable expansion it is blocked across its entire 
breadth by an enormous wall of morainic blocks, 
whose level top coincides with the limit of forest 
vegetation (about 10,000 ft; 3,000 m.). Beyond 
this barrier the bed of the valley is but slightly 
inclined. Here the traveller passes continually 
over ground strewn with drift, between old verdant 
lateral moraines, and reaches the swampy green 
floors of basin-shaped expanses, which were 
formerly filled by Alpine lakes. The profile of 
the valley and the relief of the deposits on its bed 
are typical of a valley, shaped by glacial agency. 
Of the moraine ridges, which lie between the 
several lacustrine basins and formerly intersected 
them, only a few slight remains are still visible. 

At last I readied the foot of a huge morainic 
rampart of blocks, which bars the valley and 
extends for a stretch of about one and a quarter 
miles (two versts) along it. Immediately beyond 
lies the lake Ak-kul, flooding the bed of a former 
glacier, which was derived from the cirque-like 
lieads (Karc) of the two feeders, now free from 


ice, one flowing from the south-east, the otlier 
from the south-west. 

Shortly before reaching the lake basin these 
valleys cease to fall at a steep incline, and uniting, 
open into the valley at the level of the bed of 
the lake. The course of the now verdant old 
ground-moraines in the two feeders, as well as 
the lines of the lateral moraines, may still be 
quite clearly followed. An irregular form was 
imparted to the lake, partly by the bending of 
the valley just below the junction of the two 
feeders, and partly from the great quantity of drift 
added to the terminal moraine by an extensive 
glacier, which formerly joined it from the east, so 
that here the masses of erratic blocks, projecting 
like bluffs, were thrust forward into the basin. 
Nevertheless, its average length may be estimated 
at 1,300 ft. (400 m.), and its breadth at 600 ft. 
It stands 11,000 ft. (3,350 m.) above sea-level. 

The quantities of detritus, brought down in the 
streams from the head valleys, ha\e already filled 
up the lake basin to such an extent, that not more 
than half of it is now under water, and that is 
only shallow. From the quantity of argillaceous 
particles held in solution, the water has acquired 
a milky grey-white colour, whence its name Ak- 
kul, "White Lake." The history of this lake, 
which has now entered on the last phase of its 
existence, is typical of that of hundreds of otlier 
much more extensive bodies of water formerly 
enclosed in the Tian-Shan valleys. During the 
sprmg months the basin, as the Kirghiz informed 


me, appears to be still annually flooded twelve or 
sixteen feet above its present level by the melting 
of the winter snows. I found a confirmation of 
this report in the blocks of the morainic wall on 
the shores of the lake, which were coated up to 
that level with a fine grey-white clay sediment, 
tliat was found to be still soft. The overflow of 
the lake finds an outlet under the wall of erratic 
blocks, at the outer base of which it reappears as 
a small rixulet. Of the feeders of the Ak-kul, 
that on the east rises on a ridge, over which a 
pass leads to the Ashu-tyr valley ; the western on 
a similar ridge, by crossing which the Kapkak 
valley is reached. 

In a valley, intervening between the Ak-kul 
and the Ashu-tyr, lies the lake Yashik-kul, which 
I did not visit. I was, however, informed by 
the Kirghiz that it had been more filled up by 
deposits than the Ak-kul. 

On tlie other hand, its full volume of water is 
still preserved by the lake Kara-kul-say, lying 
in the uppermost basin of the very important 
lateral Kara-kul-say valley, which joins the Kapkak 
from the south-east. Tliis lateral valley is almost 
as large as tlie main valley, and nourishes a like 
wealtli of Alpine meadows and woodlands. I 
reached it by penetrating west-south-westwards 
into the "^''ar-kasn-say, a side-valley of the Ak-kul ; 
then, turning near its head to the west-north-west 
and surmounting a ridge 12,()()() ft. (8,700 m.) high, 
the upper course of the Kara-kul-say was reached 
at an altitude of 7,700 ft. (2,350 m.). Profile 


and general relief of this fine Alpine valley are 
likewise evidence of its having been shaped by 
glacial agency. A series of now vanished lakes 
may still be traced along its course, all of them 
owing their origin and their disappearance to the 
same causes as Lake Ak-kul. The valley has 
similarly been excavated in tlie granitic rocks, 
in which intruding diabase may here be observed. 
The lake is dammed by a wall of boulder drift 
over 300 ft. high, and its water has a deep 
greenish-black colour, which justifies its name 
of Kara-kul, " Black Lake." The basin is 2,800 ft. 
(850 m.) long by 1,300 ft. (400 m.) broad, and 
stands at a level of about 11,000 ft. (3,400 m.). 
Its regular oval form is varied only by two 
small inlets. The lake receives its chief affluent 
from a valley in. the south-south-west, whence 
a now ice-free cirque or " Kar," enclosed by 
high rugged walls, once discharged a very con- 
siderable glacier, by whicli the flat lacustrine 
basin has been corraded in trough form between 
the granite walls. The operation was furthered 
by lateral glaciers, joining the main glacier from 
transverse valleys. Judging from the watermarks 
on the shore, the spring level lies about twelve 
to sixteen feet above tliat of the autumn season. 
The filling-in process has not yet made much 
progress, and the sheet of water is still of im- 
posing extent. The lake, wliich, as I was informed, 
teems with fish, is not without romantic charm, 
but lacks the animating grace of woodlands and 
of conspicuous mountain forms in its environment. 


Here, also, the overflow finds an outlet beneath 
the masses of morainic drift damming up tlie lake. 

AVhile I was occupied with the iuA' estigation of 
these lakes I sent the Tyi'olese, Kostner, to the 
]Mukur-mutu valleys, in order to replace the 
photographic views, which had been taken there 
the previous year and afterwards lost in the Musart 
river. He had also instructions to keep an open 
eye again for the fossiliferous beds of that district. 
Although these limestones, so rich in fossils, had 
been highly metamorphosed by direct contact with 
the granites, and the fossils crushed beyond recog- 
nition — (see my previous reports, p. 16 et seq.) 
he had nevertheless the good luck to discover a 
bed, from which we were able to extract a lower 
carboniferous ftmna, that could still be identified. 



Continuous fine weather promising still to fa^ our 
my explorations, I now turned to the important 
but hitherto unknown lateral valleys of the 
northern Great Musart river. It was of great 
importance for the completion of my topographic 
work, that the connection should be ascertained 
between these valleys and the huge glaciated 
ranges, branching off eastwards from IMount 
Nicholas JNIikhailovich. JNly attention had already, 
in the previous year, been drawn (see p. 83, 85) to 
the Dondukol valley, which joins the Great 
Musart four and a half miles (seven versts) above 
its outlet into the Tekes plain, ten miles (fifteen 
versts) above its confluence with the Tekes. I 
was attracted not only by the picturesque charm 
of the wooded mountains encircling the confluence, 
but mainly by the large volume of water, sent 
by its overflow down to the JNIusart river. As this 
stream is almost as copious as the main ri\'er, 
the inference was, that a large glacier must be 
harboured in the valley, the existence of wliicli 
was still unknown. 

From my headquarters in the Narynkol Staniza, 



an easy day's march (about twenty-six miles ; forty 
versts) brought me to the entrance of the Don- 
dukol valley, fi'om whose broad opening verdant 
fluvio-glacial terraces of great extent stretch far 
out, and meet similar deposits, drifted from the 
main valley, at an obtuse angle ; retrogressive 
formation of longitudinal terraces is the conse- 
quence. The choicest grazing-grounds of the 
Kalmuks are found on the broad levels of these 
terraces. Just beyond its debouchure (about 
0,700 ft. ; 2,050 m.) the valley contracts to 200 ft. 
GO m.), and is o^'ergrown witli ^ery dense pine- 
woods, reaching far up the mountain slopes. 
Terraces of glacial drift accompany its course for a 
few miles, to wliere it narrows to a canon thirty to 
forty, and in places only twenty feet wide. The 
passage of this canon, which has a length of four 
miles (six versts), is difficult, and possible only at 
this advanced season of tlie year. Even now in 
the late autumn a considerable stream of swirling 
water still rushed through this gloomy canon, 
which is strewn with rock-fragments, and inter- 
rupted by a waterfall disposed in three stages, each 
fifty to sixty feet high. Here, as in many other 
|)laces, one lias to force one's way through a 
wilderness of forest and boulders, over terraces in 
the rocky ramparts. In summer great volumes 
of water arc discharged through the narrows, as 
is shown by the marks on the cliffs fourteen feet 
above the autumn level. Then the Kalmuks, 
if! order to reach the excellent pastures on the 
w|)|)er course of the Dondukol, are obliged to 


make a long round with their flocks through 
the Mukur-mutu valleys and the Maralty valley, 
crossing two lofty ridges on the way. The Kalmuk 
hunters also choose this way in the early part of 
the year, when they go to stalk the Maral-deer, 
which is so eagerly sought for the sake of its 
costly antlers, and still abounds in the dense 
woods of the Dondukol valley. 

The axis of the valley has a general southerly 
trend, but is deflected both to the east and west, 
and at its liead decidedly to the east. The 
mountain formations consist for the most part 
of an extensive horizon of green phyllitic schists 
of diverse character, often resembling grauwacke 
schists, often Aphanites. Between them occur 
zones of crystalline limestones, beyond which 
immediately follow gneiss and gneiss-granite, then 
granites of diverse structure, and limestones, more 
or less crystaUised or else transformed to schists, 
also true marbles, a series, between which diabasic 
rocks are found embedded. The whole stratified 
system has a nearly east to west strike, varied 
with slight deviations to the south or north, with 
a very steep dip of GO — 70°. Hence the ascent 
of a lofty summit by a long track over a crest, 
gave me a welcome opportunity to follow more 
accurately the changes in the strata along this 
trend, and to collect specimens of the whole series. 
The shingle, however, in the mountain stream 
already pointed in the middle course of the valley 
more and more to the fact, that in this, as in 
the other transverse northern valleys, the highest 


range, enclosing the head of the valley, is composed 
exclusi\-ely of sedimentary rocks : more or less 
metamorphosed clay schists, and limestones, to- 
gether Anth marble. 

Scarcely has this romantic gorge again broadened 
out, when the valley thus formed is blocked by an 
enormous land-slip, which fills it up for a length 
of over a mile, to a height of o^ er 300 ft. above 
the level of the valley (about 7,800 ft. ; 2,340 m.). 
The debris consists exclusively of green phyllitic 
rock and of diabase, which have crashed down 
from both sides, but especially from the left 
escarpment. A track of difficult access for pack- 
animals leads over tliis tremendous bar, beyond 
wliich the river was once dammed up in a lake one 
and a quarter miles long, with an average breadth 
of 500 ft. (150 m.), until it succeeded in finding 
an outlet under the barrier. Presumably it had 
regained its old bed. For nearly its whole course 
the slopes of the valley are overgrown with the 
finest, densest, and most continuous pine-woods, 
that I have anywhere seen in the Tian-Shan. 
ISIoreover, owing to the above-mentioned steep 
disposition of the strata, the crests of the ranges 
along its banks are much torn, deeply indented, 
and carved into a series of rugged peaks, diversely 
outlined and adorned with glaciers, even the 
slopes tlicmsches often appearing broken up in 
a chaos of pinnacles and chfFs. Lastly, the copious, 
liinj)i(l mountain stream, the smihng Alpine meads, 
liic numerous clusters of tall bushy growths, all 
lend a special cluirm to this valley, which thus 


ranks amongst the most pictm*esque in the Tian- 
Shan uplands. 

Wherever the valley broadens out, unmistak- 
able traces have been preserved of its former 
extensive glaciation in the relief of its surface 
and in the masses of old morainic drift, reaching 
high up along the escarpments. It is joined only 
by one considerable lateral affluent, and that on 
the (orographic) right bank. About the confluence, 
also, there occiu* higli verdant ridges of old morainic 
drift. But all the other affluents of the main 
stream descend, not from valleys in the true sense 
of the word, but from upland ravines, densely 

Some se^'enteen miles (twenty-six versts) farther 
up, the valley is again blocked by an old terminal 
moraine about a mile wide, through which the 
river forces its way in a canon-like deffle. Beyond 
this moraine the a alley, rising generally wdth a 
very slight incline, is nothing more than a flat 
bed of glacial drift from 600 to 1,000 ft. (200— 
300 m.), and at its head from 1,000 to 1,300 ft. 
(300 — 400 m.) wide. Here the left scarp is 
rent into a number of rugged summits with fine 
intervening glaciers. Of these peaks, the highest 
closes with its west flank the Uertenty valley, 
ascending fi*om the north-west (see pp. 15, 17, 247). 

After about twenty- three miles (thirty-five versts) 
we reached the foot of the range, which closes 
the valley and forms a semicircular rampart, rising 
over 6,500 ft. (2,000 m.) above its level (about 
9,350 ft. ; 2,850 m.), and is completely buried 


under neve and ice. From its slopes descend 
steep glaciers directly to the flat, gravelly bed of 
the \alley, which expands in the form of a cirque. 
The head of the valley shows a great resemblance 
to that of the Bayumkol, ramifying, hke it, into 
two glacier valleys, one of which trends east, 
tlie other west, the western being the longer, the 
eastern the richer in varied forms, just as in the 
Bayumkol. The length of the western glacier, 
which descends in a narrow, moderately inclined 
valley, I estimate at from three to four miles. 
Its head is closed by a flat neve ridge with a 
saddle, the direction of which points towards the 
easterly, uppermost Saikal valley {vide p. 252). All 
along its northern edge this glacier is skirted by 
a mountain wall, which is clothed in verdure 
nearly up to its rugged crest, while along its foot 
stretches a belt of brushwood interspersed with 
pine-trees. Still more surprising is the height, to 
wliicli the forest reaches along the ice of the 
middle glacier. Here, immediately in front of 
the rugged glacial walls, a ridge, completely buried 
under morainic drift, attains some 1,000 ft. (300 m.) 
above the level of the valley. This ridge is 
covered with grass and scrub right to the top, 
and up to two-thirds of its heiglit with pine- 
forest, which consequently penetrates several 
hundred feet up into the zone of ice. The 
grandest object at the head of the valley is the 
branching eastern glacier. Here stands a group 
of extremely rugged and richly glaciated rocky 
peaks, with some snowy summits, flanking a deeply 


notched gap, over which access is afforded to the 
head of the Khamer-davan {vide p. 8G), the next 
great tributary of the JVlusart valley. This valley 
owes its name to a deep col, which is flanked by a 
nose-shaped, jagged crag (Khamer-davan =: " Nose 
pass "). The rampart closing the Dondukol valley 
does not belong to the main watershed, but, like 
that of the Saikal valley, forms a part of the 
northern bordering range of the great glacier valley, 
trending east from INIount Nicholas Mikailovich. 

In order to get a clear grasp of all these rela- 
tions, and especially of the course of the last-men- 
tioned valley, I ascended a peak (about 13,000 ft. ; 
4,000 m.), situated in the range on the right 
bank of the Dondukol. It was reached over a 
verdant pass (about 11,000 ft. ; 3,300 m.), which 
gives access to the Great Musart valley. One 
might gain this valley near the second Chinese 
post. I have already mentioned that, by making 
a day's excursion along this crest, I found an oppor- 
tunity of collecting specimens of the whole series 
of strata in the eastern range skirting the valley. 
Moreover, from this elevation, we were able to 
secure telephotographic views of the chain, branch- 
ing eastward from JNIount Nicholas Mikhailovich, 
and of Khan-Tengri, towering up beyond it. 
But the finest part of the prospect and the most 
important section of the highlands photographed, 
were the superb, many-peaked ranges east of the 
Musart pass, which encircle the upper Ak-su and 
Agiass valleys. 

My intention was to ascend yet another peak 


ill the western scarp of the valley, in order from 
the nearest point to sketch the connection of the 
Dondukol, Uertenty and Saikal valleys. But 
the verdant parts of the steep slope were found 
to be already frozen so hard, that we could no 
longer secure a footing with our worn-out mountain 
boots, and the climbing-irons were not at hand. 
Moreover, despite the sunny hours of daylight, 
the frost had grown so intense that we were 
no longer able, in spite of all our wrappings, 
to keep ourselves warm at night in our thin 
mountain tents. It was now the end of October, 
and further residence in the upland valleys was 
growing daily more impossible. For these reasons 
I had, to my great regret, to abandon the explora- 
tion of the next large lateral valley, the Khamer- 
davan, as well as the proposed visit to the large 
glacier valley, branching east from Mount Nicholas 
INIikliailovich, both of which were very important 
for the completion of the observations hitherto 
carried out. Many tilings, which might have been 
placed beyond doubt by that visit, had consequently 
to remain mere assumptions based on probabilities. 
I now confined myself to a ride up the Great 
Musart valley as far as the confluence of the 
Kliamer-davan, because a sketch-survey of this 
hact was needed for the completion of my surveys, 
.111(1 })ecause 1 wanted to follow up some geological 
observations, interrupted the previous year. 

I'^rom the mouth of the Khamer-davan (about 
«,()()() ft. ; 2,400 m.) project some very extensive 
moraines, whose form has been very well pre- 


served. Their junction with an old terminal 
moraine of the main glacier, which is several miles 
wide (see p. 86), lends much variety to the relief 
of the valley-bottom. The ranges bounding the 
Khamar-davan, ice-clad even from the entrance of 
the valley, as well as the volume of the stream, 
still copious at this late and dry season of the 
year, point to a considerable reservoir of glacier 
ice and neve, still stored up in this valley. Indeed, 
the Kalmuks, who visit it with their flocks in 
summer, spoke to me of extensive glaciers. 



And thus my explorations in the highlands were 
brought to a close. My next business was to 
pack up the collections in Narynkol and forward 
them o\er the San-tash pass, before the snows had 
made it impassable. I proposed to return by way 
of Kulja, as T wanted to revisit and exploit the 
fossiliferous limestone beds, which 1 had discovered 
ten years before in the Temurlik-Tau, in the 
Khonokliai valley, the source of the Jijen. I also 
hoped, on my way down the Tekes valley, to 
be able to secure another comprehensive tele- 
panoramic view of the whole of the gigantic Tian- 
Shan ranges, stretching between Khan-Tengri and 
the Karagai-tash pass. Unfortunately, however, 
on this route the fickle weather played me false. 
The highlands were mostly veiled in autumn fogs, 
tliough 'tis true tliey arrived this year a month 
later tlian usual. Hence but little could be done. 
iVs the mists occasionally lifted, I was once more 
struck by the mighty forms of the peaks, towering 
up in this little-known section of the great range, 
and at tlie prol'usion of neve and glaciers. In this 
respect all one's dreams are surpassed especially 
by the ramparts of the two great longitudinal 



Agiass and Kok-sii valleys, which divide the 
mountain masses along nearly the whole of this 
stretch, and only in their lower course, suddenly 
bending round, take the direction of the transverse 
valleys and debouche into the Tekes. Here a 
broad, unploughed field still lies open to mountain 
exploration. No doubt the above-mentioned large 
valleys have in recent years been sometimes visited 
by English tra\'ellers, but exclusively as hunting- 
grounds, so that geography has profited nothing 
by these expeditions. 

During my way down the Tekes for about 
seventy miles my attention was also drawn to the 
contours of the large lakes, which formerly stretched 
along the northern slopes of the main chain. But 
I will reserve this subject for my detailed report. 

As I drew near the point, where the Jijen river 
escapes from the mountains, I was surprised at the 
great alterations, made in the former modest little 
Sumba lamasery. I'he simple temple buildings, I 
had visited ten years previously, had disappeared. 
In theu' place, but a little higher up the mountain 
side, the monks had erected a very extensive 
establishment of se\'eral hundred neat dwellings, 
where from two to three hundred lamas are now 
comfortably housed. The monotonous arrange- 
ment of these block-houses is broken by agri- 
cultural buildings, huge towering hayi'icks, etc. 
In their midst rises a grand and spacious temple, 
surrounded by large courts, flanked by smaller 
shrines and elegant pavilions. The whole group, 
erected by Chinese workmen, is splendid, har- 



moniously disposed and effecti\e, carefully and 
tastefully carried out and painted in bright but 
not glaring colours — assuredly one of the most 
beautiful temples in the west of China. Every- 
thing is built of wood, except the platforms, on 
wliich stand the several temple structures and the 
monumental gates of the inner temple court, which 
are of burnt brick. Extensive woods were cleared 
away to provide the material for this spacious 
lamasery. The aged Da-Lama, who had given me 
such a hospitable welcome ten years before, had 
since died ; but his successor also showed himself 
obliging and considerate. He allowed me to 
photograph the temple inside and outside, and 
even showed me round everywhere himself. 

Unfortunately, the weather had turned quite 
bad. AVinter had suddenly set in in all its 
sc\'erity, with heavy snowfalls and intense cold. 
The crossing of the Temurlik passes was no longer 
an easy matter. When I left the friendly lamasery 
(about 6,400 ft. ; 1,950 m.) on November 5th, in 
deep snow, and turned to the moimtains, I almost 
gu\e up the hope of being able to collect any 
more fossils. Nevertheless, against all expectation, 
I had the good luck to secure a rich lower 
carboniferous fauna in the Khonokhai valley. 
Certainly tlie work was much impeded by the 
deep fiesli snow, and under more favourable 
conditions the spoils would assuredly have been 
far lichcr. 

T\w Khonokhai pass, that I wanted to cross, was 
already blocked by snow, as were also the other 


passes. The far longer way throiigli the defiles of 
the Sliateh pass (about 10,000 ft. ; 3,000 ni.) was 
the only one now open to me. It was traversed 
amid incessant snowstorms under great hardships. 
To my regret I was no longer able to derive 
much profit from a district, which is interesting 
both geologically and for its charming scenery, and 
after two days' plodding, was fain to be satisfied 
with the knowledge, that my caravan had safely 
reached the Kalmuk station of Ukurchy (about 
4,600 ft. ; 1,400 m.), at the north foot of the 
highlands. Thence we made our way to Kainak 
(about 2,500 ft. ; 750 m.), on the Ih plain, and 
on November 9th I entered Kulja. As a great 
part of my collections was still at Przhevalsk, 
where they would have to be re-packed before 
being sent on, there was nothing for it but to re- 
cross the mountains (Ketmen-Tau) from Jarkent, 
although the snows and ice had made the road 
almost impassable. Thanks solely to the inter- 
vention of INIr. Smirnoff, at the head of the 
Jarkent district, who summoned the Kirghiz to 
my aid, I was able to get through, and entered 
Tashkent at the beginning of December. 



When I cast a glance back on the results of 
this long expedition, full of cares and hardships, 
I feel myself justified in declaring that it has 
not been carried out without benefit to science. 
AVhen all the topographical surveys, made during 
the journey have been brought together in a 
single cartographic picture, the notions, hitherto 
entertained regarding the structure of the Central 
Tian-Shan, will be modified and completed in 
many respects. 

By the description, undertaken by Herr Keidel 
of the geological structure of the regions traversed 
by us, the new facts, already disclosed in this 
report, will be added to and more fully eluci- 
dated, while the knowledge, hitherto current of 
the geotectonic relations of these gigantic high- 
lands, will in many points be supplemented, in 
otliers corrected. 

The foundation for this description will be 
laid by tlie paleontological and pctrographical 
collections, secured during the course of the 
expedition. Of these the former are certainly 
the richest, that have ever been brought hither 
iVom lliis part of Central Asia, while the petro- 



graphical ones are scarcely second to them in 
importance. By both, fresh light will be shed on 
the stratigraphical system of Central Asia. 

Until these rich materials have been examined 
and determined by competent experts, it would 
be rash to draw conclusions from the facts, recorded 
in this preliminary report and from other data, 
not incorporated therein. Only on one point my 
scientific conviction is already settled once for all — 
namely, that for the Tian-Shan also an ice age 
has to be accepted. Much, that in the present 
report could merely be suggested in support of 
this view, will be more fully developed in another 
to follow later, where overwhelming evidence will 
be adduced in favour of my assumption. Certainly, 
the last glacial period in the Tian-Shan, which for 
the present can alone be spoken of as clearly 
established, may have taken a different course from 
those of Europe, in accordance with the particular 
phenomena, preceding the close of the ice age in 
Central Asia, above all as regards the distribution 
of land and water and other specially Central 
Asiatic conditions. But as to whether, as in other 
highland regions, here also several glacial periods 
succeeded each other a final decision will not be 
possible until the observed facts have been sub- 
mitted to a more sifting scrutiny. The objection 
might even now be raised to my assumption, that 
in the broad tracts stretching along the foot of 
the Central Asiatic highlands, no traces are dis- 
coverable of a former ice-cap — such as are found 
in such abundance in Europe and America. I 


should therefore like at once to point out, that in 
regions, where abrasion, destruction and the removal 
of their products have operated to such an 
extraordinary extent as here, and where, moreover, 
owdng to the most violent thermal contrasts and 
other climatic influences, which cannot here be 
further dwelt upon, the demolition and removal 
of the original surface and its redistribution have 
so far advanced, traces of glaciation naturally 
camiot have been preserved to the same extent 
as in Europe and America. Nevertheless, they 
are by no means lacking, as I shall show by the 
coincidence of my own observations. And as 
such evidence has not hitherto been seriously 
sought after by any one, it is reasonable to 
suppose that it will yet be found, both in far 
gi'cater abundance and spread over a much 
wider area. 

During this expedition photography was placed 
at the service of exploration to quite a pre- 
eminent extent, in order as far as possible to 
secure pictorial evidence and demonstration of the 
facts observed. 

Our operations were conducted with three 
cameras of different construction and dimensions, 
as well as witli different plates, adapted to the 
varying conditions. Profitable use was made of 
tlic telephotographic process, which, aided by the 
most recent appliances, gave excellent results, and 
must be regarded as an indispensable aid to 
travellers in liigliland regions of difficult access. 
During tlie expedition over two thousand photo- 


graphs were taken, whose reproduction will reveal 
a hitherto unknown highland world. 

Less rich than the paleontological is the botanical 
collection, to the gathering of which a systematic 
method could not be applied. It was carried out 
only to such an extent, as time and our resources 
permitted consistently with tlie work, that had to 
be devoted to the other matters of primary im- 
portance, included in our programme. In moimtain 
expeditions, which in any case make such severe 
claims on the traveller's time and strength, in 
which the state of the weather also is frequently 
most adverse and, owing to the constant hurry, 
required to secure objects very difficult of attain- 
ment, the most promising localities can often be 
exploited only in a very cursory way, or even 
not at all ; here, at most, only a little of the flora 
can be snatched up in all haste and any hope of 
systematic botanising must, from the first, be given 
up. Nevertheless, even the botanic collection is 
not unimportant and contains, besides numerous 
specimens of the upland flora, a somewhat rich 
assortment of the early spring flora of the South 
Tian-Shan steppes and deserts. 

Still less favourable were the conditions for 
gathering zoological collections, during a mountain 
expedition, whose aims were directed to quite 
another domain. Still, we did not altogether 
neglect this branch of science. The specimens 
collected are numerous, and many of them of 
high interest. 

During the whole expedition, records were taken 


twice a day of atmospheric pressure, temperature, 
and humidity, the barometric pressure being taken 
simultaneously with three aneroids, whose con- 
dition was compared at intervals of one or two 
days witli the boiling-point thermometer. For 
determining the temperature relations of the 
atmosphere, maximum and minimum thermometers 
were employed. Moreover, observations were taken 
of insolation, wdnd-pressure and cloud-formation, 
as fiir as possible. These observations, when all 
are worked out, will thus present a clear picture 
of the climatic relations in the regions traversed 
by us, and at the same time furnish the carto- 
graphers with the necessary data for fixing several 
hundred points. 

For whatever results may have been secured in 
the difficult regions traversed by the expedition, 
I am, to quite an exceptional degree, indebted to 
the favour and support received from the directors 
of the Imperial Russian Geographical Society. 
I tlierefore here tender my respectful thanks to 
the illustrious first president of this association, 
wliich has rendered such signal ser^^ces to the 
work of exploration in Central Asia, His Imperial 
Highness the Grand Duke Nicholas INIikhailovich, 
who sliowed such great sympathy and encourage- 
ment towards my expedition. My most sincere 
thanks are also offered to the acting-president 
of the same corporation, the distinguished first 
explorer of the Tian-Shan, His Excellency P. P. 
Scmcnofl', for his excellent advice, and for the 
oHicial passport {Atkrytylist) of the society, as 


well as for special permissions on behalf of the 
expedition, procured from the highest Imperial 
Russian officials. My warmest acknowledgments 
are likewise due to the chief secretary of the 
society, Professor GrigoriefF, for placing at my 
disposal the rich and valuable Russian literature on 
the Tian-Shan and for many other friendly 
^~~~— ^eri^ices. 

My undertaking also enjoyed the special good- 
will of His Excellency Lieutenant- General N. I. 
IvanofF, shown by assigning me a Kossack escort, 
by instructing the officials under his jurisdiction 
to lend me every assistance, and by many other 
favours, for all of which I here tender him my 
liveliest thanks. I feel specially grateful to General 
von Stubendorf, head of the topogi'aphic section 
of the General Staff, who kindly provided me with 
the necessary maps ; to Mr. N. F. Petrovsky, 
Imperial Russian Consul-General in Kashgar, for 
the furtherance of my undertaking in divers and 
sundry ways ; to the district magistrate in Osh, 
Colonel SaizefF, for his zealous and kindly co- 
operation ; to His Excellency Herr Giers, late 
Russian envoy in INIunich, for procuring the intro- 
duction of my equipment into Russia duty-free. 
If I was successful in my photographic opera- 
tions, I am much indebted for this to my friend, 
Cavaliere Vittorio Sella of Biella, who not only 
placed his incomparable experience at my disposal, 
providing me with his excellent advice before I 
started, but also took upon himself tlie enormous 
labour of working out my great collection of 


negatives. For this most unselfish labour I here 
tender him my heartiest thanks. I feel indebted 
to many other persons, without whose help it 
would have been impossible, to overcome the 
incidental difficulties of the undertaking, who, 
without being actually named, may here accept 
the assurance of my lasting gratitude. 


The accompanying map, as may be seen from 
its title, does not profess to give a complete and 
accurate representation of the physical features of 
the Central Tian-Shan. In order to enable the 
reader to follow the course of the Expedition, a 
sketch-map had to be provided before the surveys 
and observations of positions and heights, made 
during our travels, could all be worked out and 
embodied in a complete map, which, on account 
of the great extent of the region traversed and 
the quantity of topographical details collected, 
will need a good deal of time to elaborate. How- 
ever, the principal geographical results of the 
Expedition have been incorporated in the sketch- 
map, though only in a provisional fashion, and the 
most cursory comparison with any of the hitherto 
published maps will reveal essential differences in 
the main features of the Tian-Shan. 

As many hundreds of barometrical observations 
of altitude, made during the Expedition, have yet 
to be accurately collated, the figures relative to 
these points could be inserted only in round 
numbers, which do not claim to be absolutely 
correct. At most the relative heights, as compared 



with one another, may be accepted as fairly- 
accurate. On such a small scale it was impossible 
to insert all the places, passes, etc., or the names 
of all the rivers and streams, without impairing 
tlie clearness of the map, in which only those 
places will be found, which were visited by the 
Expedition or lay near its route. Those glaciers, 
which were crossed and surveyed by the Expedition, 
are all delineated ; of the remainder, only those 
that could be well seen from our route are inserted. 
Thus, the glaciers of the Naryn district, and those 
of the extensive region, drained by the great river- 
systems of the Agiass and the Kok-su, are not 
represented, although the higher portions of the 
Agiass and Kok-su groups are covered with a 
continuous mantle of neve, from which large 
primary glaciers descend to the valleys. The 
hydrographic system, as shown in this map, may, 
in spite of its somewhat cursory rendering, be taken 
as tolerably accurate. 

As regards the spelUng of names, I have not 
attempted a fastidious rendering, by means of 
unfamiliar letters or signs, of intermediate sounds, 
not known to the English language, such as Tien- 
Slian, in heu of Tian-Shan, since such subtilties 
can only interest the linguist or etymologist. It 
has been my aim to give the simplest possible 
phonetic equivalents of the names of places in the 
Tian-Shan, most of them of Turkish origin, but 
I am well aware that, in the hurry of preparation, 
sonic iuconsistcncies may have, here and there, 
occurred. Having been at the greatest pains to 


ascertain the true, current names of localities, and 
having visited most of them repeatedly and 
thoroughly, I think my nomenclature has a claim 
to authority. 

Places marked witli O are not always villages, 
but in many cases pasturages, which are regularly 
visited, at certain seasons, by the Kirghiz herdsmen. 
The sign n stands for places, where the Chinese 
government maintains military posts. The routes 
followed by the Expedition are denoted by red 
lines. Further details were precluded by the 
small scale of tlie map. 


Abdul-kia or Alep-turga, 115 
Achailo pass, 218 

— torrent, the, 217 
Achik-tash valley, the, 62 
Adyr-tyr glacier, the, peaks to 

the south of, 41 

— valley, the, 60, 62, 189 ; wealth 
of glaciers and mountains in, 
60 ; geological formation of, 61 ; 
and vide MushketofF glacier 

Agiass rivex", the, 88 

— valley, the, 273 
Aire river, the, 144 
Aiktyk valley, 112 
Ak-bel plateau, the, 177 

— valley, the, glacier pass in, 168 
Ak-chiu, Herr Keidel collects 

fossil plants at, 109 
Ak-kia, 116 
Ak-kul lake and river, 257, 258 

— valley, expansion at the mouth 
of the, 23 

Ak-shiriak chain of mountains, 

the, 177, 178 
Ak-su, town, 102, 126, 137 

— river and valley, the, 150, 157, 

Ak-tala, 119 

Ak-topa valley, the, 94 

Alagyr valley, 135 

Alai-aigyr valley, moraine at the 

mouth of, 23, 27, 249 
Alexander mountains, excursion 

of Herren Pf ann and Keidel to, 8 

Almassy, Dr. G. von, suggestion 
by, as to the waters of the 
Sary-jass, 240 

Alpine lakes, a visit to some, 

Altyn-Artysh villages, 103, 105, 
112 ; destruction of, by earth- 
quakes, ]03 

Angara series, fossil plants of 
the, 109 

Apatalkan pass and valley, the, 

Argu basin, the, terraces in, 105 

Arkogak basin, the, the bed of 

— lake, 105 

"Artysh strata, the," 103, 104; 

seismic movement in, 104 ; 

villages, 104 
Ashu-tyr pass, 38 

— valley, the, 26, 36, 38, 260 ; 
view of Khan-Tengri from near 
the mouth of, 26 ; length of, 36 

Ayak-Sugun, 108 

Bai, town, 126, 127, 128 
Baiter- Yailak valley, 167, 168 
Bash-chakma, 124 
Bash-kara-bulak valley, the, 

forms of a vanished glacial 

epoch in, 13 
Bash-ogly-tagh chain, the, 10, 12 
Bash-Sugun pastures, the, 106 ; 

fossils found in, 107 ; a second 




excursion to, 109 ; carboni- 
ferous Permian deposits in, 
110, 112 
Bayumkol glaciers, the, 27, 28, 
33, 34, 80, 245 ; the formation of, 
80 ; the eastern glacier, 250 

— pass, 80, 187 

— valley, the, 19-35 ; the mouth 
of, 22, 24; geological profile 
of, 25, 26 ; crj'Stalline rocks 
in, 25 ; the middle course of 
the valley, 27 ; climatic condi- 
tions, 29, 30 ; glacier region 
of, 33, 34 ; bad weather in, 35 ; 
a second visit to, 79 ; the ridge 
between the Bayumkol and 
Karakol valleys, 81 ; a third 
visit to, 245 ; the middle valley, 

Bedel pass, the, 118, 159, 166, 
173 ; information on the route 
through, 170 

— river, 174 et seq. 

— valley, the, 144, 171, 173; 
blue-green slates in the lime- 
stones in, 171 

Bogdanovich, M., 107 ; forma- 
tions named by him, 97 ; his 
views on the geological posi- 
tion of the "Artysh strata," 
104 ; fossils found by him, 104, 

Bom-khotan,'geological formation 
near, 133 

Borkoldai chain, the, 176 ; the 
crystalline zone in, 161 

"Bos-aidyr chain," the, 113, 116, 

Bos-tagh range, the, 138, 149, 

Botanic collection, the, made by 
the expedition, 279 

Bulung-turuk, 122 

Buraty valley, the, 256 

Busai-tash pass, the, 132 

" Catherine Peak," 176 
Chadan-Ta, 101 

Chagash-gumbes, the Aul of, 116 
Chakh-chi, 127 
Chakmak, Yakub Beg's fortified 

post at, 105 
Chalkody-su valley, the, 13 
Chalmaty valley, the, 173 
Chandar Aul, the, 147 
Chapta-khanne, 135 
Chatyr-kul lake, 179 
Chiran-toka valley, the, 98 
Cholok-su valley, 135 
Chon-jar valley, the, 166 
Chorlok river, the, 147 
Chul-Tau, the, 101, 127 
Climate in the Central Tian-Shan 

region, records taken of, 29, 30, 

69, 280 

Darvasse-su valley, the, 158 
Dechy, M. von, help afforded 

by, 4 ; hospitality of, 6 
Denge-davan pass, the, 123 
Dondukol river, the, 83, 85 
— valley, the, 15, 247, 252, 263- 

271 ; glaciers in, 268 
Dungaretme pass, the, 169 

Earthquake, a severe, 71, 161 
Eski, 109 

Feiedrichsen, Dr., 8, 37, 38 

Gess valley, the, 109 
Giers, Hcrr, 281 

Grigorieff, Professor, help af- 
forded by, 2, 281 

Hedin, Sven, 114, 120, 121, 146 

Ignatieff, I. W., expedition of, 
to the glaciers of the Central 
Tian-Shan, 3, 80 ; name given 
by him to the Karakol valley, 



37 ; his estimate of the extent 
of the Semenoff glacier, 43 ; 
of the Inylchek glacier, 67 ; of 
the Mushketoflf glacier, 189 ; 
his notes on the geology of the 
Great Musart route, 82 

Hi plain, the, 275 

Ilovaisky, Prof., help rendered 
by, 7 

Inylchek glacier, the, 41, 60-75, 
182, 193 ; extent of, 67 ; atti- 
tude of, at its lower end, 72 ; 
the chain skirting it, 41, 52, 
66, 202, 205 ; exploration of, 
196-208 ; its total length, 210 

— river, the, 67, 238 

— valley, the, 194 ; the south 
border range of, 41, 52, 66, 205 ; 
the mountain chain on the 
north side of, 64 ; dry atmos- 
phere of, 69 ; description of, 
68-70, 241-243 ; climatic pecu- 
liarities of, 75 ; a superb 
range between it and the 
Kayndy valley, 218 

lonoff, Lieutenant-General, 8 
Ishigart-Tau, the, 143, 174, 238 
Ishtyk pass, the, 176, 180 
Ishtyk-su, the, 143, 174 ; the 

headwater region of, 178 
Issyk-kul lake, the, 8, 180, 182, 183 
Ivanoff, Lieutenant-G e n e r a 1 
N. I., friendly reception ac- 
corded by, 7, 281 

Jai-teve, the Kirghiz settlement 

of, 114 
Jam-kuluk village, 129 
Jam-tama valley, the, 194 
Janart pass, 142 

— valley, the, 140, 141, 143, 144 ; 
its richness in grass and forests, 

Jan-kasnak valley, the, 134 
Jin-jilga valley, the, 96 

Jiparlik glacier, the, 89 ; end of, 

90 ; its length, 91 
Jitim-Tau, the, 179 

Kaiche pass, the, 159 

— valley, the, 138, 143, 144 
Kainak, 275 

Kaldy-Yailak plain, the, 108 
Kali-agach valley, the, 128 
Kapkak pass, the, 76, 186, 244 

— river, the, 77 

— valley, the, 186 ; special 
features of, 77 

Kapsalyan river, the, 128, 129 

— valley, the, 129, 132 
Kapyl-Tau mountains, the, 12 
Kara-archa gorge, 230 et seq. 

— pass, the, 227, 228, 229 

— torrent, the, 229 
Karabag plain, the, 134, 135 
Kara-bel pass, the, 112, 228 

— valleys, the, 225 
Kara-bulak, 116 
Kara-bulung, 122 
Kara-bury pass, the, 152 
Kara-gat valley, the, 150 
Kara-jil, 113 

Karakol glacier, the northern, 38 ; 

coating of moraine debris over 

the southern, 136 
Kara-kol lake, the, 254 

— valley, the, 37, 173 
Kara-kul-say lake, the, 78, 260, 


— valley, the, 78, 260, 261 
Kara-say, the, headwater region 

of, 177, 178, 179 
Kara-turuk gorge, the, 121 
Karkara, ancient lake floor of, 10, 

183, 185 
Karraulde, 174 
Kasalai valley, the, 157 
Kash-bulak valley, the, 94 
Kashgar town, 102, 109, 111, 112 ; 

earthquakes in, 104 




Kashgar-daria valley, the, loess 

deposits in, 109 
Kashka-su valley, the, 42 
Kashka-tyr pass, the, 185 
Kasnak-su, river, 128, 134 
Kaulbars, A. W. von, explora- 
tions of, 3 ; his notes on the 
topography of the Musart pass, 
82 ; his appreciation of the 
significance of the Borkoldai 
chain, 176 
Kayndy glacier, the, 221, 222, 223 

— river, the, 219, 220, 238 

— valley, the, 73, 204, 205, 219, 
220, 222, 223, 236 ; survey of, 

236 ; ranges skirting, 220, 225, 

237 ; signification of name, 220 
Keidel, Herr Hans, 111, 120; 

joins the expedition, 4 ; his 
share in the report of the ex- 
])edition, 5 ; he starts from 
Munich, 6 ; makes an excursion 
to the Alexander mountains, 8 ; 
collects some fauna, 11, 152 ; 
investigates the tertiary forma- 
tion of the Tekes plain, 14 ; 
takes the geological profile of 
the Bayumkol valley, 25, 26 ; 
fossils discovered by, 38 ; in- 
vestigates the geological struc- 
ture of the range surrounding 
theSary-jass, 42 ; his researches 
inthe lowerlnylchek valley, 73 ; 
collects specimens from the 
Musart valley, 92 ; his collect- 
ing zeal, 102 ; his discoveries 
in the Tegermen basin, 106 ; 
investigates the loess deposits 
in the Kashgar-daria valley, 
109 ; fauna collected by him in 
the Ot-bashi-tagh region, 125 ; 
his attempt to penetrate the 
Ka])salyan valley, 132; carboni- 
ftTOUH fauna found by him in 
the Kok-shaal valley, 142 ; 

Devonian fossils found by him, 
180 ; collects fauna in the Kok- 
jar valley, 185 ; triangulates 
above the Semenoff glacier, 
186; in the Kayndy valley, 
221 ; his description of the 
geological structure of the 
Central Tian-Shan, 276 

Kenem-begu valley, the, 23 

Kepek-chai valley, the, 131 

Kerege-tash pass, the, 181 

Ketmen-Tau heights, 11 

Khalyk-Tau, the, 88, 97, 121 ; first 
exploration of, 126 ; informa- 
tion of it doubtful, 127 ; ex- 
yjloration of its valleys, 128-135 

Khamer-davan valley, the, 186, 
269, 270, 271 

Khan-Tengri, the position of, 15, 
17, 52, 53, 58, 59, 67, 76, 185, 
193, 208-216 ; a glimpse of, 26, 
27, 40, 52, 74, 76, 192, 193, 194, 
196, 197, 198, 203 ; the snow- 
fields of, 40 ; the height of, 41, 
42, 185 ; the base of, 42 ; the 
summit of, 74, 209 ; a splendid 
view of, 80, 192, 194 ; the geo- 
logical formation of, 212 ; the 
possibility of climbing it, 214 

Khonokhai pass, the, 274 

— valley, the, 274 
Khurgo valley, the, 168 
Kirghiz tents, 11 

— Ala-Tau, vide Terskei-Ala-Tau 
Kish-talga, 135 

Koi-kaf gorge, the, 227, 231, 233 

— river, the, bed of, 235 

— valley, the, 149, 150, 157, 227, 
233, 234 

Kok-belys pass, the, 120, 167 
Kok-jar valley, the, geological 
exploration in, 185 ; the profile 
of, 240 ; the upper valley, 244 
" Kok-kya range," the, 112, 135 
Kok-rum river, the, 168, 169 



Kok-rum valley, the, 144, 159, 165, 
169, 172 

Kok-shaal valley, the, 115, 122, 
142, 169 ; traces of glacial action 
in, 117; aeolian corrosion in, 123 

Kok-shaal-Tau, the, 116-118 

Kok-su valley, the, 273 

Kok-tan range, the, northern 
slope of, 107 

Koneshar, 97, 136 

Konganishuk-Yangyll Aul, 123 

Kongul-jol valley, the, 62 

Koshc-bashe Aul, 123 

Kosh-karata valley, the, 144 

Kostner, Franz, 6, 111 

Krassnoff, A. M., expedition of, 
3 ; the name given by him to 
the Tys-ashu valley, 64 ; his 
report on the valleys between 
Bedel and Kum-aryk, 144 ; 
crosses the Bedel pass, 170 

Kuberganty, 185, 244 

Kuchi oasis, the, 145, 158 

Kukurtuk oasis, the, 140, 158, 168 

— pass, 162, 164 

— valley, the, 144, 158-165 ; the 
entrance to, 159 ; narrow 
gorges in, 162 

Kulja, 275 

Kulu-Tau highlands, the, 62, 238 

Kum-aryk river, the, origin of, 

149, 150 ; source of, 157, 175 

— valley, the, 144-149, 150, 175, 
233, 234, 235, 238 

Kumbulung Aul, 124 
Kungeu-Tau heights, 10 
" Kuren," 97 
Kurumduk river, the, 106, 108 

— valley, the, 104 
Kusgun-ya valleys, the, 62, 73, 

194, 196 
Kutingy, 15 

Kuuluk-Tau heights, 10 
Kyssalik, 135 
Kysyl-gumbes, 118 

Kysyl-kut pass, the, l52 
Kysyl-tal valley, the, 135 

LlKHANOFF, J. I., 12 

Mai-bulak valley, 62 

Mai-tewe, 123 

Mansur-tagh, the, 152 

Maral-deer, 265 

Maralty valley, the, 15, 17, 252 

" Marble Wall," the, 28, 31, 33 ; 
its identity with Khan-Tengri, 
41 ; the nucleus of the main 
ramifications of the Central 
Tian-Shan system, 211 

Markesh-tagh, 116 

Masar-Yakub, 128 

Maiirer, Herr, 111 

Maydan-Gess valley, the, 104 

Mikhailovich, the Grand Duke 
Nicholas, help afforded by, 2 ; 
reception accorded by, 7 ; his 
name given to the "Marble 
Wall," 211, 245, 251, 263, 269, 
270 ; the author's indebtedness 
to, 280 

Moro-khotan valley, the, 94 

Mukur-mutu valleys, the, 14, 15, 
247, 252, 262, 265 

Munkys valley, the, 143, 144 

Musart-daria, the, 135 

Musart pass, the, 32, 82, 88 

Musart rivers, the Great and 
Little, valleys of, 14, 15 ; valleys 
of the Great river, 263 

— valley, the, entrance to, 82, 84, 
269 ; length of, 85, 92 ; geo- 
logical features of, 92 ; glacia- 
tion of, 94 ; lateral valleys of, 
98 ; survey of, 270 ; entrance 
to the Little valley, 245, 246 ; 
exploration of, 245-253 ; view 
of the ranges skirting the Little 
valley, 256 
Mushketoff, J. W., researches of, 



1 ; tertiary sandstones found 
by him, 179 
Mushketoff glacier, the, 41, 56, 
57, 60, 189, 193; the chain 
skirting it, 41, 52, 190, 202 ; 
survey of, 189-192 

— pass, the, 57, 191 
Musulyk, 129, 132 
Myn-dagyl-bulak valley, the, 144, 

Myn-tyr pass, the, 240, 244 

— valley, the, 185 

Naryn river, 175, 178, 241 
Narynkol, 12, 13, 14, 20, 79, 82, 
185, 186, 246, 272 

— pass, the, 80 

— valley, the, 255 
Nura-nor lake, the, 254 

Oi-TATTIR oasis, the, 145, 146 
Okhotnichi, vide Narynkol 
Ot-bashi-tagh ridge, 124 

Peteoff glacier, 177 

— peak, 138, 173 ; the position 
of, 143 

Petrovsky, M. N. F., help af- 
forded by, 112, 281 

Pfann, Herr Hans, 193 ; joins 
the expedition, 3, 6 ; makes 
an excursion to the Alexander 
mountains, 8; surveys the 
Bayumkol valley, 29 ; deter- 
mines heights of ranges in 
Central Tian-Shan, 42 ; his 
expedition on the Inylchek 
glacier, 73-75 ; completes his 
survey of the western glacier 
of the Bayumkol valley, 79 ; 
returns home, 102 ; his measure- 
ments of Khan-Tengri, 186 

Photography, the use of, on the 
expedition, 17, 32, 40, 52, 56, 
74, 119, 173, 177, 180, 186, 187, 
188, 189, 194, 202, 209, 223, 245, 

252 et seq., 262, 263, 269, 272, 

Pjevtzoff, M., 170 
Pokhrovskaya, 183 
Przhevalsk, 8, 183, 275 
Przhevalski, M., 170 

RussEL, E., joins the expedition, 
7 ; returns home, 102 

Sabavchy chain, the, 138, 145 

— glacier, the, 149, 151-157 ; ex- 
ploration of, 154 ; ascent of, 
165 ; length of, 156 

— river, the, 149, 153 

— valley, the, 149, 152, 153 ; 
background of, 156 

Safar-bai Aul, 122, 173 
Baikal river, the, 254, and vide 
Musart, Little 

— valley, the, 23, 245 et seq. ; 
total length of, 252 

Saizeff, Colonel, 281 
San-tash pass, the, 10 
Saposhnikoff, Prof., 8, 9 
Sart-jol pass, the, 185 
Sary-bel pass, the, 169 
Sary-jass river, the, 38, 39, 40, 43, 
44, 178, 186, 237, 238-241 

— valley, the, 9, 36-59, 185 et seq. ; 
present configuration of, 43 ; 
green prairies of, 61 ; waters 
of, 175, 178, 240, 241 ; the en- 
closing walls of, 239 ; breadth 
of, 241 

Sary-jass-Tau, the, 238 
Sary-jass-tuty, 13 
Sary-turuk Aul, 122 
Schubert, Herr, help afforded by, 8 
Sella, Cavaliere Vittorio, help 

afforded by, 4, 281 
Semenoff, P. P., 1, 2, 117, 280 ; 

discovers the significance of 

the glacial deposits in the 

Sary-jass valley, 43 




Semenoff glacier, the, 9 ; excur- 
sions for the exploration of, 40, 
186-188 ; the extent of the 
glacier, 43 ; the tongue of the 
glacier, 46 ; its breadth near 
the tongue, 47 ; its constancy, 
48 ; its resemblance to Euro- 
pean glaciers, 49 ; its length, 
50 ; a survey of, 186-188 

— pass, the, 50 

— peak, the, 53 
Serakh-su valley, the, 98 
Severzoff, N. A., 1, 112 
Shaikhle Aul, 147, 148, 157 
Shateh pass, the, 275 
Shinne Aul, 121 
Shinne-davan pass, the, 121 
Sindan river, the, 144 
Slivkina, 183 

Smirnoff, M., help afforded by, 

Sogdan-Tau, the, 119, 121 
Souka pass, the, 180, 181 

— valley, the, 183 
Steinmann, Prof., 4 
Stoliczka, M., 104, 105, 107 
Stubendorf, Lieutenant-General 

Von, 7, 281 
Sugun river, the, 107, 108 

— valley, the, 107 
Sugun-karaul, 108 
Sukhun, 130, 132 
Sumba lamasery, the, 273 
Sum-tash, 120 

Syrt plateau, the, 177 et seq., 218, 

Tagh-tumshuk, 108, 124 
Taldy-bulak, 10 
Taltan-su valley, the, 144 
Tamlok stream, the, 147 
Tangitar ravine, the, 105, 106 

— river, the, 106, 112 
Tanke-sai valley, the, 144, 168 
Tarim basin, the, 43, 139 

Tashkent, report written in, 4 ; 

a journey to, 7, 109, 275 
Tashmalik, 109 
Tas-tepe cliff, 22 
Taushkan-daria, the, 139, 144, 

168, 169 
Tegermen basin, the, 106 

— lake, the, 105 

Tekes plain, the, 14, 20, 81, 82, 
246, 263, 273 ; tertiary forma- 
tion of, 14 

— river, the, 14, 20, 83 
Temurlik passes, the,crossing, 274 
Terek river, 128 

-- valley, the, 132, 133, 134, 152 

Terek-ty river, the, 239 

Terskei-Ala-Tau, the, 180, 181, 

" Three Valleys," the, 226 

Tian-Shan (Central), the, moun- 
tain chains of, 1, 19 ; higher 
regions of, 2 ; glaciers of, 3, 40 ; 
carbonaceous fossils in, 10 ; 
ice age of, 13, 22 et seg., 34, 39 
et seq., 43, 63 et seq., 81, 82, 86 
et seq., 94 et seq., 117, 142, 149, 
150 et seq., 174, 178 et seq., 218, 
223, 226, 237, 246 et seq., 255, 
258 et seq., 264 et seq., 'ill ; 
valleys of, 25 ; climate and 
snows, 29 et seq., 54 et seq. ; ex- 
treme heights of, 31 ; the glacier 
ranges of, 40 ; the southern 
base of, 139 

Tilbichek valley, the, 128, 129, 
130, 132 

Togak Aul, 147 

Tograk-Yailak valley, the, 96, 98 

Tokai Aul, 147 

Topadavan range, the, structure 
of, 99 

Tosor pass, the, 181 

Toyun valley, the, 103 ; Devonian 
fossils in, 104 

Tur plateau, the, 76 




Turpal-che valley, the, 98 
Tiite glen, 13, 14 
Tutuk-tery valley, the, 135 
Tyr-asha valley, the, 23 
Tys-ashu district, the, hills in, 63 

— pass, the, 65, 196, 236, 241, 243; 
coraliiferous beds in, 243 

Tys-ashu river, the, 62 

— valleys, the, 62, 64, 76, 191, 193, 

Tyukur-myt valley, the, 135 

UCH, 121, 122 
Uch-kul river, the, 239 
Uch-Musduk, 120 
Uch-shat, the, region, 226 et seq. 

— river, the, 226, 228 
Uch-shat-Tau, the, 226 
Uch-Turfan, 125, 137, 139 ; views 

from, 138 
Uechy valley, the, 180 
Uertenty peaks, 17, 262 

— valley, the, 15, 247, 251, 252, 

Ui-bulak, 140, 144 
Ukurchy, 275 

Ukurchy streamlet, the, 22 
Ulak-teke valley, the, 144 
Ulluk-karkara valley, the, 185 
Ulu-jailak valley, the, 144 
Usun-gush mountain, 173 
Uy-tal, 170 

"White lake," the, 259 
" White pass," the, 168 

Yagus-tal valley, the, 135 
Ya-konash valley, the, 134 
Yak-tash river, the, 177-180 
— valley, the, walls of, 179 
Yakub Beg, 105, 116, 154, 162, 

Yalin-Khanzyn glacier, the, 88 
Yangi-Hissar, 109 
Yar-jilga, 134 
Yar-kasn-say valley, 260 
Yashik-kul lake, 260 
Yirtash river, the, 178, 239 
Yulushu chain, the, 177 

Zoological collection of the ex- 
pedition, the, 279 

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